SunstarTV Bureau: In August, India won its first ever gold medal in the FIDE (International Chess Federation) Online Chess Olympiad. But now the player, team India vice captain Srinath Narayanan has to pay customs duty, while receiving the medal.
After the package reached Chennai – where Narayanan lives – the courier service DHL Express India Pvt Ltd. asked him to pay customs duty: ₹6,300. “I was so tired of all this, I just paid it,” stated agitated Narayannan.
According to a central government notification on 30 June 2017, medals and trophies won by Indian sports team members for participating in international tournaments are exempt from customs duties.
This news came onto the forum after Narayannan, took to tweeter deliberating his concerns. On 2 December, team India vice captain Srinath Narayanan tweeted that he had to wait a week to receive the team’s gold medals, which landed in India last month. “It reached from Russia to India in three days, but took more than a week to reach from Bangalore to Chennai, and had to pay customs duty!” he wrote.
According to sources Narayanan has told that, “It was dispatched around the 19th or 20th November. Harikrishna (a team member) got his medal on the 21st. He lives in Prague and got it hassle free. For us, it came to Bangalore on the 23rd. Then it took a whole week.”
Narayanan said he had to provide multiple documents to customs officials before he was allowed to collect the medals for the team. “They (customs officials) had opened up the package and asked me what was inside, and what it was made of. I had to give them an official document on the chemical composition,” he further mentioned.
The 12-member team had done it all by itself – without any support from the Indian Chess Federation. When it won, everyone in public office rushed to praise and congratulate them. Even PM Modi tweeted saying he admired their “hard work and dedication”. But it seems like customs department officials are unimpressed, though.