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Bringing Used Laptops for Disabled Kashmiris


I will be volunteering at the Hope Disability Centre in Wayil, Gandarbal district for 3 months this year. I will be bringing with me some used laptops from New Zealand. Any guidance on how I can get them through customs without paying bribes, and huge fees? I will have documentation on how much I paid for some of them, but others were donated. None are worth very much. This is my first trip to India, so I am not sure what to expect at Customs. Thanks for your guidance!



daya's picture


hi diane
If I'm not too late to provide this information, then the best thing would be to take some help from fellow travellers. I would genuinely advice that. Not that they can be a pain in the arse most of them are a pain. Anyhow welcome to india and good luck

Diane Emerson's picture

Clarification, please

Thank you Daya. Could you please explain what you mean by taking help from fellow travelers?

Nusrat Ara's picture

Dear Diane, I have recently

Dear Diane,

I have recently done a story on Hope. Welcome to Kashmir. When are you coming here. Stay in touch. If possible I would love to see you here.


Diane Emerson's picture

Thanks for the article!

Dear Nusrat: I recently read the article you wrote. Thank you so very much for that!! I posted a link to your article on the Kashmir section of the MEND website I created: so others can read it.

I will be arriving in Delhi April 21, and heading to Srinigar shortly after, by train. I will be in Wayil for 3 months, so it may be possible to meet.

daya's picture


hi, what i mean is that if can make acquaintance on your way here u can ask them to say you'll are together, n you'll be super lucky if u can find a big family or people traveling in a group. anyhow how many laptops are u carrying?
Hey where in india would you be landing, and when?

hope to cu you soon and pray that u don't have to face any problems.

Diane Emerson's picture

Laptops, Travel to Kashmir

For Daya: even if by some very unusual coincidence, I met a group of people at the Auckland airport who are going all the way to India on the same flights as I am, I would not ask them to lie for me to the customs officials. I will hope to carry 5 laptops with me. One will be my own.

Now, I have done some research online with Indian customs, and learned that for used equipment like these laptops, Customs decides how much they are worth, and the import duty is 37%. Does anyone know if I can get a ruling in advance on the value of these laptops from Customs? I sent an e-mail to the address listed on their website, but it bounced back.

I will be leaving Auckland the 20th of April, spending 2 nights in Delhi, and hopefully taking a train to Srinigar.
Thanks everyone for your support and kind words and suggestions.

Fatima Sultan Syed's picture

Laptop Custom Info

Hi Daine
Thanks for your wonderful service. More power to you!
I would like to put you in touch with some people who have been working for relief work in Kashmir. If convenient, write to me and I will put you in touch with them.
Thanks and look forward,

ShukThi's picture

customs and bribes

Hello Diane,

I hope my advice does not come too late. I am a non-resident Indian. I have found that things are much better now at the airports, and bribes are certainly not expected. Especially, if you explain that you are bringing the laptops in as a gift for a charity, it is extremely unlikely you will have trouble. Also, there are certainly relatively easy ways for you to get legal redress if you do get held up at the airport.

Please do not worry about corruption. In my experience and as far as I understand, that is not as big an issue anymore. At least, definitely not in Chennai and Mumbai airports. I am not sure about Delhi. If you have any contacts with NGOs in Delhi, you can certainly ask them for help at the airport. if they are there to greet you, they may be able to quickly help you fill out a complaint form if you get hassled by customs. If it's a lawyer, even better. But even if you cannot arrange that, sometimes just threatening to take them to court for corruption will do the trick. Again, I believe this is extremely unlikely. Just put down the actual value of the laptops, and you will be fine.

I hope this helps.
Take care

Diane Emerson's picture

Laptops for Kashmir

Hi Soumya! No, you are not too late. Thanks for the tips. I have no connections in Delhi, and my flight arrives at 2am, so I wouldn't ask anyone to be there at that time anyway. I have written to the India High Commission in New Zealand asking their advice, and for a waiver of the import duty. No news yet. I also have had good advice to etch/paint the laptops with the name of the Hope Disability Centre, so it is obvious I am not bringing them into the country to sell them. This will be good to do in any case! Thank you very much for your interest and guidance.

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