POSTAL APPRAISING DEPARTMENT, KOLKATA CUSTOMS
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
In the Foreign Post Office at Kolkata, two departments of the Central Government i.e. Postal Appraising Department of Kolkata Customs & Foreign Post Office of the Postal Department function side by side. The role of Customs Postal Appraising Department is to clear consignments that are received through the Postal Channel and are presented by the Kolkata Foreign Post Office for Customs clearance. The Postal Appraising Department works from Monday to Saturday except on the second Saturday of each month. Deputy/Assistant Commissioner of Customs is the in-charge of the Postal Appraising Department.
The Office of the Postal Appraising Department (PAD) is located at Foreign Post Office, 12 Kiran Shankar Roy Road, Kolkata-700001. Office of PAD may be contacted for any queries relating to Customs clearance of consignments that are received through the Postal channel. The telephone number of PAD is 033-22624635 and e-mail id is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kolkata Foreign Post Office (FPO) has the jurisdiction over the post offices in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Accordingly, consignments pertaining to these jurisdictions only are examined by the Postal Appraising Department, Kolkata.
PROCEDURE FOLLOWED FOR CLEARANCE BY THE POSTAL APPRAISING DEPARTMENT, KOLKATA IN RESPECT OF IMPORT CONSIGNMENTS
The Import Consignments are classified by the Kolkata Foreign Post Office into two categories - 1) Import Packets/Letters (consignments weighing less than 02 kgs). 2) Import Parcels (consignments weighing more than 02 kgs). Import consignments are received by the Postal Authorities in Bags. These bags are opened by postal staff in presence of Customs and parcels/packets are sorted out by the Postal Authorities. Parcels/packets that pertain to the Kolkata FPO postal jurisdiction are retained at Kolkata FPO for Custom clearance. Import parcels/packets/letters are presented to Customs Postal Appraising Department by Kolkata Foreign Post Office for screening. This is the first stage of clearance. The Import parcels/packets/letters that are not cleared at the screening stage by Customs are held back by the Postal Authorities who then present these parcels to the Customs for clearance, by way of Table examination (Sheet Assessment) which is the second stage of clearance. During the Table examination (Sheet Assessment); the detained parcels/packets/letters that were held back by the Postal Authorities as mentioned above are examined by the Postal Appraising Department, Kolkata in presence of Postal Authorities at the examination section. At this stage, if the details such as content of parcels/packets/letters, nature, importability and value of the goods, etc are found to be in order, the parcels/packets/letters ae released after proper assessment. The applicable rate of duty and the total amount of duty levied is endorsed on the Customs Memo. At the Table examination (Sheet Assessment), consignments which are not possible to be assessed on the basis of the available documents/data viz. IEC, Invoice, etc or incomplete or vague description or there is suspected mis-declaration of the value or contents, or both, or are subject to certain restrictions like “No Objection Certificate” from other agencies like Asstt. Drug Controller, Wild Life Regional Authority, Plant Quarantine Department, etc or are restricted under other statutory requirement; are not cleared during Table examination and are further detained. In all such cases, a Call Memo cum Show Cause Notice is issued to the consignee, directing them to provide the necessary documents as the case may be. After receipt of the reply/ submission of relevant documents, fulfilment of any condition/required NOC as the case may be, the parcels are released. Consignments containing prohibited goods or goods that are in contravention to laws/procedures in force for the time being are kept detained and dealt with as per law.
ASSESSMENT AND CLEARANCE
The present practice of Assessment and Clearance of goods at Postal Appraising Department, Kolkata is carried out in the following manner: a) Personal Imports with CIF value of more than Rs 1000/- are subjected to Import duty of 42.08% (Sl. No. 609 of Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017). Commercial Imports are subjected to import duty as per their classification under Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (Refer- Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018). b) Bonafide commercial samples and prototypes imported by post are exempted from Customs Duty, subject to a value limit of Rs. 10,000/- provided the samples are supplied free of cost (Refer Customs Manual 2015). Importers having IEC number can import commercial samples through post without payment of duty upto a value of Rs. 1,00,000/- or 15 units in number within a period of 12 months. c) the goods sent as personal gift to the recipient, valued less than Rs 5000/- (FOB) are cleared without payment of duty as per the Notification 77/2017-Cus dated 13.10.2017. All other goods, not classified under category (a), (b) and (c) are assessed strictly as per Custom Tariff Act, 1975, existing Foreign Trade Policy and relevant Notification/ Circulars issued by the Board (CBIC) from time to time and it is ensured that the imports are in conformity with all other Allied Acts and Rules. There exists a procedure for Reassessment of the Customs duty levied. In case the consignee feels that the goods require to be reassessed, the consignee should desist from accepting the delivery of the consignment from the post office of delivery. Instead, the consignee should send back the consignment to the Foreign Post Office, Kolkata through the Post Master of the delivery office with a request for reassessment by the Customs. Reassessment of the duty is done on the strength of the documents available unless physical examination is required. If the consignee fails /refuses to take delivery of the consignment addressed to the consignee after it has been released by the Customs the consignment is returned to the FPO. Such abandoned/unclaimed consignments are then taken over by the Customs. The Customs thereafter will forward such consignments to the Customs warehouse after issuing a Show Cause Notice to the consignee asking the consignee to show cause why the consignments should not be confiscated. However if the consignee does not want to take the delivery of the consignment addressed to the consignee either before or after it has been released by the Customs, the consignee may inform the PAD as well as to FPO in writing, to RETURN THE CONSIGNMENT BACK TO THE SENDER.
CLAIMS REGARDING SHORTAGE, PILFERAGE, IMPROPER HANDLING, DAMAGE OR DEFECTIVE PACKING
The Postal Authorities being custodians of the Import parcels are at all times responsible for the safety, security, and handling and repacking of the contents of the consignments. Therefore, no claim for compensation on account of shortage, pilferage, improper handling, damage or defective packing lies with the Customs. The authorities may be contacted for queries relating to the status of consignments.
STATUS OF CONSIGNMENTS & QUERIES
The status of the consignment can be checked from the Postal Department website www.indiapost.gov.in. For queries regarding pilferage, shortage, improper handling, damage or defective packing, the Postal Department should be contacted. For queries regarding Customs clearance, the Postal Appraising Department, Kolkata should be contacted.
International articles with Tracking Number prefixed with EE, EM CP, CL, RR are dealt by the Office of the Superintendent, Foreign Post Office, Office Address : 12, Kiran Shankar Roy Road, opposite of the New Secretariat Building, Kolkata – 700 001.