Cabinet decided this week that confiscated stocks of beedi leaves will no longer be auctioned but will be destroyed under strict supervision.
The procedure hitherto was for illegally imported beedi leaves confiscated by the Customs to be sold after calling for tenders.The tenders are called twice and only if there are no buyers, are the stocks destroyed, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.
He said that the National Security Council has received many complaints about malpractices in the process of auctioning the seized beedi leaves while the adverse impact on the health of consumers too was taken into consideration in taking the decision to destroy the stocks.
At present there is a stock of 11370 kilograms of illegally imported beedi leaves in the country and these will all be destroyed under strict supervision, he said.
While destroying the stocks would mean a loss of income to the Customs Department, there were allegations of large scale fraud taking place in the auctioning process and this would stop with the decision to destroy the stocks, the Minister said.