Joachim Pinto - Sup of Customs at Mangalore Airport

April 10, 2010

We often hear people say ‘it is all in destiny’.  Joachim Pinto, Superintendent of Customs at Mangalore’s international airport in Bajpe would certainly vouch for this.  He wanted to join priesthood soon after his plus two but flunked in Kannada in the final exam.  That proved to be his undoing and the priest of the congregation to which he wanted to join, suggested he become a brother.  It has taken years to make that prophecy true and Joachim has now become a brother in the true sense as he preaches charismatic at Fatima Retreat House where he is the team member of Maria Prarthana Retreat. “I was surprised and crestfallen on realizing I had flunked but did not lose hopes and completed the subject. Now that I preach charismatic what that priest told me has been fulfilled.  I think I was destined to be what I am today” he says with a calmness that has become an essential part of his demeanor. 

Since 1997 Joachim Pinto feels he is a changed man ever since he accepted Jesus as his saviour and he considers March 25, 1997 as the most memorable day of his life.  He had joined the retreat at Fatima retreat house that year.  The first three days of the retreat passed off normally.  But he had prepared profoundly the entire night for the 4th day’s retreat and felt totally liberated as he went for the retreat.  “The word of god came to me and I immediately listened to him and began to accept what I am.  The inner voice prompted me not to be after money or worldly pleasures.  That assurance brought me self content.  Earlier I was aspiring for higher post and   social recognition. But now I am content with what I have.  From that day I accepted it and I am carrying on my work with all sincerity”, he admits.  

Striking Change 

Joachim also adds that since then he has become free from all ailments or worries and that his work and social life has undergone a marked change. ”I am a contented man mentally, socially and spiritually”, he avers.   The normal worldly events fail to have any serious bearing on him.  He says when everyone else was crying when his 88 year old mother died last year he did not shed even a single droplet of tear.  He attributes it to his accepting such things as part of life.  “She had lived her life and we had cared for her during her old days.  So I accepted it as part of living and did not feel any remorse”.  

He recalls the tragic incident of the death of his 2 ½ year old son in 1984.  The child suffered from pneumonia and the couple took him to too many doctors in their anxiety of finding a quick fix solution.  This had a detrimental effect as finally with too many doctors providing varieties of medicines and when it came to the decisive stage medicines failed to work and the child succumbed to death. Taking the incident in his strides he says “though I lost my son blessings have come to the family after the renewal”.  After that incident he has learnt a lesson hard way and when it comes to his daughter Jean who was born after that, to stick on a one doctor.  His advice to other parents is not to rely on any one doctor rather than listen to too many people and follow their advice.    

Born in Neerude near Bajpe, Joachim is one among the nine children of late Francis Pinto.  He had his early education in Neerude and completed his High School and BA from St Aloysius College, Mangalore.  His father died when he was in the final year of college and soon after he joined the department of Customs and Central Excise.  He has served in different parts of Karnataka in various capacities and has one more year of service to his credit. His wife Winnifred is working as a craft teacher in St Sebastian School, Permannur.  His only daughter Jean has been working for Barclays Bank, Singapore for the past one year. 

Good Rapport with Passengers

As Superintendent of Customs at airport he heads one of the two group officers who check the baggage of customers who arrive and depart from the airport.  Recently his department stumbled upon a huge cache of 6.6 kg of gold worth Rs. 81 lakhs, the biggest value of seizure so far from Bajpe airport.  He says that normally a person is allowed to carry goods worth Rs. 25,000 without payment of duty other than gold, liquor, cigarettes and one laptop.  But it is left to the discretion of the officers who, in some cases may allow valuables up to 35,000/- worth without duty.  Ladies are allowed to wear gold up to Rs 20,000 value and men up to 10,000/- (new gold) while there is no slab for old gold worn.  “Sometimes we don’t stick to figures and show some leniency when it comes to boarder line, he says.  

Gold worth up to 10 kg is allowed provided the customer shows proper receipt and pays duty up to Rs. 750 per ten grams of gold.  “Normally we don’t harass people unnecessarily unlike olden days when checking was foolproof.   In olden days every baggage had to be checked resulting in undue delay.  But now within half an hour or at the most 45 minutes a passenger can be out of the airport getting all clearances”, he points out. Normally they allow people to go through the green channel unless they suspect anyone and ask them to go through the red channel as it happened in the case that resulted in the recent seizure of gold.  In fact the department chanced upon the seizure just by fluke due to the alertness of the customs officials.    He agrees that that the same person might have escaped the eagle eyes of the customs department on earlier occasions. 

As compared to other airport Joachim says smuggling rate is very minimal in Mangalore airport which is has no links with other airports except Cochin.  Moreover the passenger load is less as compared to other airports and people don’t resort to smuggling for the fear of being caught as the airport has good officer-passenger ratio.   

How does his staff cope with the rush hours that might arise due to the simultaneous arrival of flights? Normally there is enough time between flights, but we have enough strength to check the passengers, says Joachim.  Presently there is some congestion that slows down the clearance process.  But once the new terminal becomes operational even that problem will find a solution. 

There are of course a few instances of skirmishes between the customs staff and the passengers and Joachim says mostly these altercations arise when customers are made to pay the duty for the excess baggage. “Human tendency is not to pay fine or taxes and that leads to arguments.  But we convince the passengers and the issue gets solved.  Knowing that the passengers are tired after long distance travels our officers are quite co-operative and polite to the passengers” Joachim declares.  

Are there any instances of customs officials taking bribes and showing leniency to those customers who grease the palms?  Joachim denies the accusation and says “as long as I am there such instances cannot occur.   But I cannot guarantee the same in my absence”. 

Job Risks  

Does the job carry with it any risk factor?  Joachim narrates two instances when he had faced threat to his life following seizure of precious stones worth Rs. 10 lakhs in Bangalore five years back.  He noticed people following him in vehicle at night when returning home and had the intuition which helped him to seek the help of the people of the military base in Koramangala.  Similarly when he was in the excise department he had had caught illegal beedi smuggling group in 1985 following which there were false allegations against the department people and the matter even went up to Delhi.  “They even came to hit me because I was the only local person involved”, he recalls.  

And what does he has to say about the allegations of his department getting embroiled in the allegations of bribe?  “There is a change in the attitude of people when it comes to taking bribe.  When you take bribe the respect you get from the top and also from the lower echelons reach the rock bottom.  If you are sincere and straight forward even god helps”, he states.  But dealing with situations when a higher officer gets bribe is not easy he says.  He had one such incident when working in Karkal and immediately his department transferred him back to Mangalore where there was no income generation.  

Useful Life 

One of his sisters Tressy is a nun who, after her retirement is serving as a counselor to the provincial in Banglaore.  His older brother A A Pinto runs nationally acclaimed Ryan International chain of schools.   Though he is active in New Life sect Joachim feels he is steadfast in his belief.  “When you live a renewal life your are following Christ and does not matter which sect one follows, be it New Life or Pentecost”, he clarifies.  

After his retirement next March Joachim has decided to devote his time and energy for social and religious purposes.  There is some plan to do something about their house in Neerude, which he says will take some concrete shape in the years to come.  Life, he says is challenging and it is left for people to solve the problem instead of running away from them.  He concludes saying “my main aim is to be contented in life.  If we live a life of truth, sincerity and piety life is worth living for”.  

by Florine Roche - Daijiworld Media Network
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Comment on this article

  • Joachim Pinto, Mangalore

    Tue, Apr 27 2010

    I thank the Lord for making me an instrument of his love where ever I am placed. Also thank my parents, elders and family - without thier love and care life would not be easy.

    Thank you all for your heartfelt comments and appreciate your interest. Especially thank Mr Walter Nandalike and Florine Roche.

  • Renita Alva, Shankerpura/Dubai

    Sun, Apr 18 2010

    Dear mam,congratulation... wish you all the best.

  • Wilson Machado, SHIRVA

    Sat, Apr 17 2010

    Dear Pinto brother,
    I am very happy n proud to read about you.and extremely happy to know you spiritually n personally.May Almighty God be with you forever in your words n deeds.
    Hats up to you officer n ur team.wish u all the best....Wilson, SHIRVA.

  • nancy, manglore/mumbai

    Sat, Apr 17 2010

    jochie mama we all areb really proud of you and all the very best.

  • Allwyn Lewis, Mumbai/Dubai

    Fri, Apr 16 2010

    Dear Uncle Joachim, I am extremely proud and happy to read this article, and thank God for creating such a wonderful and humble person like you in this world of today! God has indeed blessed you, and may he continue to bless you and your family. This entire article proves that you have walked the talk in your life.
    “To love God is the greatest of virtues to be loved by God is the greatest of blessings”
    I would like to thank Daijiworld for all the good work they are doing in & specially for bringing in this interview.

  • Robert Saldanha, Kinnigoli

    Fri, Apr 16 2010

    Dear Pinto, Keep up your good and sincere work, where it is rare nowdays. Of course there are risks in these kind of jobs, specially if somebody like you would not be tolerated by the mafia because you are an hurdle on their way. Good interview by Florine Roche, even your article/interview on SEZ was good. keep it up!

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Thu, Apr 15 2010

    It is a very interesting story and a great testimony of a dedicated follower of Christ. How many lives
    are being touched through his life as a powerful government official?
    I have met his brother once in New Delhi, and through his schools, a lot of students are being reached
    with the message of God's love.

    There are Biblical verses everywhere in the school and a  divine atmosphere can be felt at the school.

    Mr. Joachim Pinto, God may richly bless and guide you as you are serving the Lord Jesus through your job.

  • Rizwan , Udupi / Dubai

    Wed, Apr 14 2010

    Its so true to have honest persons at important places and Mr. Pinto God bless you and your family

  • Vincy Bahrain, mangalore/bahrain

    Wed, Apr 14 2010

    god bless you mama
    love from vincy,nancy,and viola

  • Richard D Souza, Mangalore / Doha

    Wed, Apr 14 2010

    Dear Joachim
    Sixmonths ago when i landed at Bajpe airport i remembered old friends to include late Fr Herbert, you and some others. this time. this happens every timne i land there as i am away from india for the last 31 years. this time i had a chalk mark on my sweating suitecase (defrosting sausages for my son) as i was approaching the customs i was being asked to go to the counter and as i was approaching, a customs officer in civil dress came without looking at his face i gave my passport saying opening is of no use as usually i take back and forth two pairs of dress and vegetables and fruits,& chocos. the officer asked for the passport of my MIL who was with me - i looked at the person as i was giving the passport - it was Mr J, who was with me in the boarding in 1970-71. i could not hold back and quickly realise you could not recollect. it was nice to see you as the Superintendent and yet same humble and silent person - REMEMBER GONZAGA - Fr J Coelho, Fr Pinto, Hockey, basketball and naughty richie - CONGRATULATIONS - i feel so proud about you - ALL THE BEST - Richie

  • Bp Robert Miranda, Gulbarga

    Wed, Apr 14 2010

    Joachim, you were good and kind even during our college days ! I remember the happy days we spent at St. Aloysius. I am proud of my acquaintance with you.May God Bless you even more to become an example and inspiration to many a good officers like you to be a powerful witness of the Lord where ever they are.

  • Br Hector, Bajpe

    Wed, Apr 14 2010

    So good to hear about the honest and brave officers in our country. Congratulations, Mr Joachim. May God bless you.

  • Pius Dcruz, Belman Dubai

    Wed, Apr 14 2010

    Congratulations Mr. Joachim,

    It feels good to read about people who manage their expectation and are contented with life. Your article is an eye opener on how a person can be happy with the things he has rather than go after material things in life which leaves you stressed out.

  • Ivan PINTO, Belthangady / KSA

    Tue, Apr 13 2010

    Congratulations JOACHIM PINTO.


    Tue, Apr 13 2010

    Jean your comment came so late. Still your Dad is the best. Congrats

  • Jean Pinto, Mlore/Singapore

    Tue, Apr 13 2010

    Mom and me have always been proud of you, dad. We will always be supportive in all your endeavors. Love you loads.

  • joseph pinto, angelore/mangalore

    Mon, Apr 12 2010

    all the best and congratulations to you for being steadfast in your sincerity to the job-keep it up...


    Mon, Apr 12 2010

    Dear uncle,congrulation.& may god bless u,u r the best.let gods grace be with u always.keep on shining like a star.regards from pinto fly paladka

  • John Serrao, Kirem/Bahrain

    Mon, Apr 12 2010

    Dear Joachim, hope you can remember me. I was your classmate and hostel mate in early 70's. You look the same(minus the grey hair and moustache). You were a very good player of table tennis and basket ball. I am so glad to read that you have reached this high(Some years back Mikkie told me that you work for the customs). Mikkie is here in Bahrain & Freddie is in Dubai (no contact). Please send me a mail giving your contact number. All the best. Regards to you and your family.

  • JOHNSON DSOUZA, ferar/kompadave / israel

    Mon, Apr 12 2010

    dear Jochie mam realy you are the best ..congratulation , wish you all the best,,keep it up

  • Molly Miranda, Kulshekar/Mangalore

    Mon, Apr 12 2010

    Dear Mr.Pinto may the Good God bless you and keep u in good health. Right person at the right place.

  • michael pinto, nallithirtha nerude

    Mon, Apr 12 2010


  • george borromeo, Pumpwell, Angelore, Mangalore

    Mon, Apr 12 2010

    Hats off Madam Florine Roche and Daiji Dubai, you both have found a Very Interesting and Precious Person to interview.  Even thogh we, My self and my Wife Jacinta Borromeo are in Renewal movement since 01.08.2004 and had been meeting Bro.Jochim Pinto on and off Fatima Retreat House, But as on date we never communicated as two social Human Beings.

    It is a great suprise to note that the person is an efficient and sincere Superintendent of Customs.
    He has rightly said that once any one surrenders to God all mighty then he will live in a different world of divinity and God will protect and raise him to the eternity.

    Mr.(Bro)Jochim Pinto let your life and the testimony you have revealed shall be an examplary to us,lay and religious Naam Ke Vaaste Christians.   Thanks Florine you are doing a marvelous job. God bless you.

  • ashith pinto, mangalore

    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    Congratulations MR.JOACHIM PINTO..


    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    Dear Brother Joachim,
    We both had met you personally during our 5 days retreat in Fatima Retreat House in Jan, 2010. We have noticed you are very kind person and the way you have explained about your life thru this beautiful article is already touched our hearts during retreat time only and we can recall some of them. We wish you always good luck and May God Bless you abundantly and ahead years to be filled with courage joy happiness and prosperity.

  • Anthony Quadros,Neerude/Doha Qatar,

    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    Dear Joachim uncle, We know you in person very well and really appreciating your good work in your entire professional career and religious life. Nice to read your interview we are proud of you. Your sincerity, dedications and devotions to religious life perfectly resemble in your simple personality. Carry on your good work and definitely you will succeed your wishes in coming years. I still remember those volley ball matches which we played together.All the best and God bless you!


    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    Congratulation mr pinto we are very proud of you .wish you all the best keep it up!!

  • Ivan Frank, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    Congratulations and all the very best in years to come.

  • Noreen Fernandes, Managalore/UAE

    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    I know Brother Joachim personally. He's been always very kind, helpful and down to earth. I wish him all the very best and good luck in his endavour. He is in our prayer always.

    Noreen Fernandes

  • Fr. Prakash Anil Castelino, Uppinangady

    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    Dear Mr. Joachim Pinto, congrats on your success. May God Bless you on your sincere and dedicated service. Your hospitality as well as sincere service without giving any troubles to Passangers is a truly evangelization. Keep it up.


    Sun, Apr 11 2010


  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore - U.S.A.

    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    I have read with great interest Joachim Pinto's history and career. God has His own ways to enlighten people and invite them to His service. It occurs to me that Joachim is A CHOSEN ONE. It is by no means easy to overcome temptations in Government Departments and more particularly in Customs and Excise. The hand of God has worked in the life of this enlightened man.

    I go to Fathima Retreat House regularly and The Director of The Institution Father Ronnie Prabhu is a good friend of mine. It is my hope that I will have an opportunity of meeting Joachim and perhaps benefit by his experience.

    Florine - Thank you for the work and for presenting Joachim to us. May The Good lord bless him and his family. Kudos to you Joachim - may your breed increase.

    Joe Gonsalves

  • BF Saldanha, Dubai / Fujairah / Udupi

    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    I have had the opportunity of meeting Mr. J. Pinto at the airport in many occasions. He is a man of down to earth, straight forward, upright and scrupulous. What he said is right, we can make out by looking at his nature. He never aspired for higher post and social recognition. May God bless him & his family abundantly with best health & contentment.

  • Paul Andrade, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    Delighted to learn about present posting. No doubt it is a great opportunity for you to reflect Christ, as otherwise it is one place with good fortune for corrupt officials. I have seen inhuman treatment from one such official in the airport at a different place. Some such persons may also seek transfer during your regime. May God bless you.88967953

  • Peter Pereira, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Sun, Apr 11 2010

    Brother Joachim May God bless you and give more strength to serve people socially and spiritually.

  • kiran, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Mr. Joachim congratulations.

    I would like to make one comment on the customs rules on gold jewellery. Last year when my wife was travelling from Dubai to Mangalore she had a bad experience. The customs official stopped my wife for carrying her gold jewellery. She told him that it was the jewellery she bought from Mangalore. He didnt listen to any. Then she asked him to enter it in her passport and that she would carry it back on her return as she had a residency visa of one of the gulf country and I presume its legal to do so. But the officer would listen none. Then he finally asked her to pay him a bribe of 1000rs and asked my wife to leave.
    It would be nice if Mr. Joachim would make note of this
    I feel that particular customs officer just harassed my wife for some money


    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Joachim Uncle all the best to you and keep your good same way. congratulations to you for being steadfast in your sincerity to the job and society.
    Maxi and freeda from kuwait.

  • judith crasta APP, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Mr Jochim all the best and keep the good work going.

  • Mathew Valder, Permude/Muscat

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Dear Joachiyab, it is a great feeling to read about your achievements. I still remember those volley ball matches which we played together during 1980s! Your decisiveness, dedication and temperament is unforgettable. We are proud of you dear. Last October, I met you in the Bajpe airport. Thanks for your hospitality. Good luck for your future endeavors.

  • mohan sequeira, mangalore/dubai

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Dear Jochi dattu,

    I have seen your devotion personally when I was in Bangalore for a brief period in 2004. You have helped me to become more religious. I am confident that till you are there in Mangalore Airport Customs sincerity and truth will prevail. Praise The Lord.

  • Jackson, Canada

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Congrats. Joachim. Good officers like you are the good example of others. This article is a eye opening one to any person whether in govt postion or others which expalins the life story of one's good work to society and honesty, sinscerity having /holding big position in Govt. God is good and takes care of his people on this universe. Catholic's are always dedicated to the service they provide, becasue of thier honest, sincere services in any field. God bless you and your family of great services in the name of Jesus.

  • Wilson, Neerude / Muscat

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Dear Mr. Pinto, I am glad to hear and appreciate your good and sincere job as a Sup.of Customes in Bajpe Airport. Realy Neerude has given wonderful man to serve the passangers who comes from abroad. Being a Neeerude parishioner I am proud of you and wish you all the best in your professional career . May God bless you and protect you.


    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Dear Joachim uncle, I think you are the first Catholic to take the seat ofSuperintendent of Customs at Mangalore’s international airport. Everybody heard a very good name of yours in this field, where people getting harrassed even though they have proper documents. But in your leadership it will go smoothly without any golmal, cause any field the Catholic proved themself to be honest and you are a living example for it. We salute you sir, and we first of all thank the Almighty God for your success. Its not a easy job, since its a post where normally people get tempted by others. We will pray for you sir, that God will help you to overcome any temptations and you proved it earlier too. Im too small to advice you sir, but i have to tell you one thing: whenever you have any problems or temptations, before discussing with others, first discuss with Jesus Christ and he will always there to guide your path.
    Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. Isaiah 43:2

    Uncle keep this promise of Jesus Christ always with you. Let the people saw jesus in you.
    God bless you always sir.
    You have made all the Mangaloreans so proud.

  • Jaimini P.B ., Manipal,Sharjah

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Ineresting article about Joachim Pinto. There are sincere and brave officers like Joachim in Customs.When I read JOB RISK part,I must mention about Asst.Customs Collector L.D.Arora who seized a very big consignment of arms and ammunitions belonging to Dawood and lost his life. He was shot dead in Allahabad-1993 by Babloo Srivatsava & team on the instruction of Dawood. Brave officer Mr.Arora was the right hand of Customs Dept. Definitely job in customs dept is a risky one .

  • Franky Rego, bajpe

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Sir really you are the best.GOD bless you and all the best.

  • Sunil Vaz, Bahrain

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    Dear Joachim uncle, I know you in person very well and really appreciating your good work in your entire professional career and religious life. Nice to read your interview we are proud of you. Your sincerity, dedications and devotions to religious life perfectly resemble in your simple personality. Carry on your good work and definitely you will succeed your wishes in coming years. All the best and God bless you!


    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    All that's said,if followed reliegiousely with true respect to the rightful passengers,then we all must appreciate Mr.Joachim Pinto's dedicated services with his able team.We indeed look forward to sincere,impartial & honest people like him curbing bribery for which the govt. officials are famous otherwise in general.I only hope & wish Joachim & his team prove my general opinion wrong.
    All the best Mr.Pinto.May God Bless us all & give us strength to be upto the expectation of the real, deserving lot.

  • siddarth, mangalore

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    All the best Mr.Pinto . Happy that we have some one from mangalore . God bless you

  • Jennifer Dias, Mumbai/Kuwait

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    May God Bless you and your loved ones. If you have already taken Jesus to be the centre of your life you can be assured that no harm can touch you. "He will give His angels charge over you".

  • Biju, Muscat

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    it is really a beautiful article abt ur life, god bless u and also wishing u to get a courage and god help for doing more things in the coming years

  • jerome castelino, mangalore

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    All the very best to you Joachim and congratulations to you for being steadfast in your sincerity to the job - keep it up. May God bless you abundantly for what you are and for glorifying Him in all that you do.


  • robert d souza, suratkal

    Sat, Apr 10 2010

    mr.joachim you are best.god bless you.


    Fri, Apr 09 2010


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