Stories of the never-ending struggle between smugglers and custom officers to outsmart each other is displayed at the country's first of its kind customs and central excise museum here.
"The work on the second phase of the Indian Customs and Central Excise Museum is nearing completion and it will be opened in January," said V P C Rao, Commissioner, Customs and Central Excise, Goa.
The first phase of the museum was opened by present President and the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in 2009.
Housed in 'Blue Building' --a heritage building constructed some two hundred years ago by the Portuguese-- the museum traces the history of customs from the Harappan age to modern days. The museum, Rao said, displays the innovative methods used by smugglers to outsmart custom officials. It always remain a challenge for customs to apprehend them."
The museum, he added, provides a glimpse of the "never ending battle between the smugglers and tax evaders on one side and the men on duty on the other."
The prized possession of the museum include a gold-gilded idol of Jambala, which was seized by the customs officials in Gorakhpur while being smuggled into Nepal.
It also displays hand-written copy Abul Fazal's Ain-e-Akbari, seized by Patna customs.
Besides other things, the exhibits provide a glimpse of how gold, precious metals, currency notes and other contraband were smuggled in and out of the country.
For instance, Rao said, smugglers used to conceal gold in shoe soles, cycle tyres, car engines and body parts. Diamonds and other precious metals were concealed in walking sticks.
The life size exhibits will provide a fair idea of how the smugglers used innovative methods to hoodwink custom officials and also explains the difficulties being face by the
men in uniform to check this menace.
As regard excise, the museam exhibits Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi March and how he broke the excise law to manufacture of salt.
Then, he added, there are other sections dealing with smuggling of wildlife. There is also a narcotics gallery which tells the story of manufacture and smuggling of the contraband.
The items on display also include stone sculptures, bronze images, coins, arms and armour, replicas of Nataraj and Amin pillars etc.
Rao said that once the work was completed, efforts would be made to hard sell it as an important tourist landmark of Goa. Most importantly, he added, the museum is being developed in the two-century old building which has it own history.
The Blue Building,