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Sunday, 31 March 2013

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Customs museum to exhibit unlawful items

The Sri Lanka Customs Department will launch a museum to showcase its long-standing history and exhibit unlawful items detected.

The museum in the new Customs Building on the Chalmer's Jetty in Fort will be open to the public by the end of May.

Superintendent of the Customs Bio Diversity Unit Samantha Gunasekara told the Sunday Observer that the concept to establish a museum for the Customs Department was a long-felt need to educate the public about the role of the department and its history and detections being carried out.

Apart from the over 200-year-old history since the Sri Lanka Customs Department was set up in June 1806, the role of Customs operations dates back to 1,000 years during the time of Maha King Parakramabahu the Great's reign where foreign goods were imported through ancient trading channels such as the "Silk Route".

During that era, Sri Lanka then known as Serendib or Taprobane was a dominant country in the maritime trading routes where Customs was an essential duty to be carried out. Proof of this operation had been found on ancient stone inscriptions, he said.

The museum will also exhibit items that had been recovered in various detections throughout the country. Contraband on wildlife, antiques and artefacts seized while being smuggled out of the country will be exhibited in the museum. Dangerous substances such as narcotics and other precious items including jewellery and gems will also be displayed.

Gunasekara said that the department has deployed a special team to work in connection with the launch. It will be opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

 

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