New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) Department of Posts and Department of Customs have formed a joint task force to discuss various issues faced by them in functioning of Foreign Post Offices (FPOs), in a bid to check smuggling, Parliament was informed today.

In a written reply to a question on smuggling through FPOs, Sinha said the two departments are also collaborating to implement Security and Customs Related Electronic Exchange of Data (SECUREX) project, on pilot basis.

The project developed by the Universal Postal Union along with World Customs Organisation will enable the departments to exchange data electronically in advance and help in risk management, he said.

To a query on whether instances of smuggling of banned and restricted items in parcels through FPOs have come to the notice of Government, Sinha replied in affirmative.

He said 1,829 cases pertaining to “restricted items” and 495 cases related to “prohibited items” have been booked during the current financial year till February 2018.

“The department of customs has installed 17 X-ray scanning machines at FPOs to scan foreign parcels. In case of suspicious items, 100 per cent examination is carried out. The customs department is also in the process of procuring 15 scanning machines to strengthen the examination process in FPOs,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.