Hyderabad: The sales of smuggled foreign cigarettes continue in the city with pan shops finding a way to acquire illegal imports and stock it.
Despite the efforts by the law enforcement agencies in the city and neighbouring Commissionerates in which they have been regularly raiding and seizing huge quantities of these the actions apparently have failed to deter the illegal sale of foreign cigarettes.
Cigarettes of various brands like Wins, Paris, Gold Queen, Flame, Djarum Black and Gudang Garam are smuggled into the country by non-declaration and concealment. The cigarettes are usually smuggled into the country through sea ports and air from Hong Kong, Dubai, South Korea and Kuala Lumpur, according to the officials. Later the consignment is transported to different cities across the country reports Telangana Today.
Traditionally, the markets of Siddiamber Bazaar, Begum Bazaar and Monda Market have been the wholesale hubs of these illegal foreign cigarettes.
“There is a demand for international brands of cigarettes in the city. Secondly, the profits are high so the traders take risks and bring it into the city,”P Radha Kishan Rao, Deputy Commissioner of Police Task Force.
Such cigarette brands do not carry warnings or have any minimal cautionary messages, which are mandatory under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2006.
The main intention behind the smuggling of cigarettes from other countries is to avoid paying GST and other taxes thereby avoiding government revenue.
Injurious to health
Cautions have been made several times on the tobacco content in these cigarettes being high which has an adverse effect on health too.
However, after the lockdown restrictions were lifted, the cigarettes again found their way to the pan shops in the city. Nevertheless, the police say they are keeping a watch on the big traders to prevent the distribution of the contraband to local traders.
However, in the month of May, the police busted two rackets and seized property worth Rs 1.03 crore and Rs 16 lakh.