Fire in Kolkata: Not just any other Fire
| Adv Dhirendra Singh - 19 Sep 2018

Fire in Kolkata: Not just any other Fire

 

  • By Dhirendra Singh, Advocate 

New Delhi, Sep 19, 2018: What do you expect, when you have an entire wholesale, trading and stocking hub spread out in 2 Sq Km, pushing cheap highly flammable counterfeit products being fed by imports from China. This was long coming. This area in and around Canning Street with buildings like Bagri Market and Mehta Building are hubs for pushing these imported counterfeits of well know Cigarette Lighter, Butane Gas refill Cans and Perfume brands. You reap what you sow.

Close on the heels of the collapse of Majherhat Bridge in Taratola another disaster struck the city early on Sunday (Sep 16, 2018) when a devastating fire destroyed multi-storeyed Bagree Market in Burrabazar of central Kolkata leaving six persons injured including two fire brigade personnel, media reported.

It took almost 30 fire tenders over 48 hours to douse the flames. That was the magnitude of these fires. At the end, the area looks like a war zone now. This was a market hub sitting on a powder keg. 

We have raided this market time and again for and against branded fake/ counterfeit cigarette lighters, refills of Butane gas cans/cylinders and perfumes. This is what happens, when cheap highly flammable counterfeit goods are imported from China and authorities do not bother and look the other way. And we know from experience how these imports reach these hubs passing through Customs channel through Kolkata Sea Port. 

For the uninitiated, let me share an insight from our ongoing ground investigation during the past four years - an entire syndicate of importers based in kolkata feeds this market. The taxation bit and loss to the country - all these fakes are traded in cash no tax paid resultantly, the country loses revenue.

Besides, during import there is large scale under declaration of price per unit of these counterfeits thus the importers make the first killing by theft of customs duty, though they pay the actual price per unit for these counterfeits to those Chinese exporters..the difference gets routed through hawala.

Someone from Kolkata Customs, would help enlighten us all, as to how this happens right under their nose. If we as a private professional entity have discovered this racket and modus operandi then the moot question is, how on earth is Customs, Kolkata unaware of this. Or is there more to it than meets the eye. What's the preponderance of probability ? Please judge for yourself. 

Some respite for our teams for the time being. Good this got reduced to ashes. Counterfeit trade deserves no mercy or sympathy. They make brands bleed and the country loses tax revenue.

Will the government and authorities take corrective measure to prevent a repeat or will it be business as usual in fake and counterfeit goods?? None of the traders / importers in this market had a license under the Explosives Act! How about fire safety norms ? There are some tough questions, yet to be answered by parties and authorities involved. 

(Writer of this article, Dhirendra Singh is an Advocate and Director of Brand Protectors India Pvt Ltd. A Trusted Advisor, Strategist and Go to Person with 17 years of hands on professional experience. He can be contacted at - dhirendrasinghp@gmail.com)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Indian Observer Post and Indian Observer Post does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Photo Courtesy: Abhijit Mukherjee, The Asian Age


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