Madras HC to Customs: Examine plea against import of infested wood

Published on : March 23, 2017 Topic : Business

A Madras High Court bench on Wednesday asked the state Customs Department to examine a plea against the import of untreated and infested wooden logs in breach of various statutory provisions.

The Madurai bench of the high court asked the Custom Department to consider the plea of one M Seyal Murugan, who had moved the court seeking strict compliance of rules before letting the imported wooden logs, reaching the Tuticorin VOC Port, enter the country.

The court’s division bench of justices A Selvam and N Athinathan asked the Customs officials to consider the plea within 15 days so that the untreated wood, possibly infested with pests, beetle and wasp, do not enter the country.

The petitioner wanted the authorities to follow the mandatory procedure stipulated under ‘the Destructive Insects and Pests Act and Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order 2003,’ before allowing the logs into the country. He also sought a stay on clearing the logs which did not satisfy the order and which did not have the Certificate issued by the exporting country.

The plant quarantine officer should inspect the container if they were sawn or sized wood without bark, he submitted. The officer should also inspect the timber at sea before being unloaded from the ship. If the pests, along with the wood, were allowed into the country, they could cause harm to human beings in the country, he pointed out.

He also attached what he claimed were photographs of logs being allowed into the country with dangerous wasps, pest, beetle and moth. A representation was sent to customs officials, including Customs Commissioner (Imports), and Plant protection officer of Tuticorin VOC Port Trust, but no action had been taken, he alleged.

Source: The Indian Express
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