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Customs Department: Smuggling Gold at an International Airport, U.P. would Cost Passport

The move initiated by the Customs will allow the passport office to issue show-cause notices to the alleged smuggler

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Customs Department, Smuggling
The department is coordinating with the UP Passport Office for such an action to curb growing smuggling of gold . Pixabay

If caught smuggling gold at an international airport in Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow and Varanasi), the accused will now lose their passports, according to the Customs Department.

The department is coordinating with the UP Passport Office for such an action to curb growing smuggling of gold at Lucknow and Varanasi international airports.

The move initiated by the Customs will allow the passport office to issue show-cause notices to the alleged smuggler and later cancel passports if the reply is found unsatisfactory, top Customs officers told IANS.

According to the Commissioner Customs (Preventive) Lucknow, V.P. Shukla, the decision to cancel passports was taken after the department observed that most of the smugglers are turning into habitual offenders in the absence of strict legal provisions.

Customs Department, Smuggling
Department would identify the accused and based on the inputs, the UP Passport Office will issue show-cause notices. Pixabay

“These accused would easily find ways to escape law. So, we took the measure to create fear in the minds of the smugglers,” Shukla told IANS.

He said his department would identify the accused and based on the inputs, the UP Passport Office will issue show-cause notices.

The accused would be given time to reply to the notice, and if it is not found satisfactory, the person’s passport would then be cancelled immediately.

“We will identify repeat offenders or anyone who is found to be carrying more than the value of gold. The person will face action on two fronts: one in the court and another by the passport office,” said Niharika Lakhra, the customs’ Deputy Commissioner.

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In 2018-19 the UP customs wing recorded 46 cases of smuggling where the seizure was worth Rs 9.30 crore. In 2017-18, there were 50 such cases with seizure value of Rs 5.21 crore.

The seizure during 2018-19 included around 20 kgs of gold valued at Rs 6.42 crore, foreign currencies worth Rs 1.74 crore.

The customs also arrested 16 persons during 2018-19 as against 13 arrests in the year 2017-18. According to officials in UP customs the number of arrests has gone up to 22 this year. (IANS)

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NRAI Slams Zomato for Extending its “Gold” Programme on its Delivery Platform

It is another instance of Zomato changing the goalpost

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NRAI, Zomato, Gold
The programme is currently available in 16 cities. Pixabay

The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Saturday slammed Zomato for extending its “Gold” programme on its delivery platform, saying it is a desperate attempt by the online food aggregator to shore up the sinking fortunes of its flagship Gold programme.

Zomato has announced to take its Gold programme where existing and new Zomato Gold members will be able to use Gold for home delivery orders. The programme is currently available in 16 cities.

Zomato Gold was till date available only on eating out at fine-dine restaurants.

“It is another instance of Zomato changing the goalpost. Gold was originally launched as a tool to promote the culture of ‘dining out’, but now it is being extended on deliveries too,” said NRAI, which has been at loggerheads with Zomato regarding the Gold programme over deep discounting practices.

NRAI, Zomato, Gold
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Saturday slammed Zomato for extending its “Gold” programme on its delivery platform, saying it is a desperate attempt. Pixabay

“Essentially, it is now a programme that merely promotes ‘deep discounts’ on both dine-in and delivery verticals, the cost of which is borne solely by the restaurant partners,” the restaurants’ trade body added.

NRAI also said that it continues to remain firm in its belief that Zomato Gold in its current form is an unacceptable proposition.

“We expressed the same unequivocally to the Zomato team in our recent talks. However, in utter disregard to the viability of the restaurant fraternity, they have chosen to extend the programme further to the delivery vertical as well,” the NRAI said.

“The NRAI remains steadfast in its belief that Zomato Gold in its current form is not acceptable in either dine-in or delivery segment,” Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI, had said in a statement.

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According to the NRAI, Zomato’s move will be calamitous to the business in the delivery segment and NRAI appeals to all restaurants and cloud kitchen entrepreneurs to stay away from Zomato Gold on delivery.

“Offer right quality at the right price, rather than falling for such discount gimmicks,” NRAI told Zomato, adding that the #ZoGoIsNoGo campaign is on and “we continue to #StayLoggedOut.”

According to Zomato, food delivery was in its early stages when it launched the Gold programme in 2017.

“We thank our restaurant partners for all the feedback, and users for the love they have shown towards Zomato Gold. It is very much these conversations, that led us to put forward a better and bigger Gold programme,” Gaurav Gupta, Co-founder and COO, Zomato, said in a statement.

NRAI, Zomato, Gold
Zomato has announced to take its Gold programme where existing and new Zomato Gold members will be able to use Gold for home delivery orders. Pixabay

The Gold programme drives 25-30 per cent business for its restaurant partners and more and more Gold users (90 per cent) are exploring new restaurants because of the programme.

“It, therefore, makes eminent sense to extend this discovery behaviour to the delivery restaurant base,” said Gupta.

Zomato has always been hellbent to make its contentious Gold programme available for delivery.

“With over 13,000 establishments across 41 cities, Zomato Gold for Delivery brings a wide choice of great restaurants to Zomato Gold members,” added Mohit Gupta, CEO, Delivery, Zomato.

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Gold on delivery will offer the second-highest priced item on the order for free, except for combos, MRP items and special dishes.

It will only apply on minimum order values of Rs 300 with discount capped at Rs 300 per order.

New users will pay Rs 1,800 for an annual package that will give them access to dining out and delivery privileges. (IANS)