The Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Ltd has urged the Government to curb the illegal entry of arecanut from Myanmar through Mizoram.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the President of Campco, Kishore Kumar Kodgi, said there is rampant smuggling of arecanut from Myanmar through the Champhai and Lawngtlai districts of Mizoram that border the Chin Hills of Myanmar.
He said that numerous illegal road constructions are being carried out by the smugglers on the Indian side of the border in Mizoram. It is believed that there are around 40 illegal smuggling routes in Champhai district alone.
He said the smugglers use various means to transport their goods even to the extent of using a detour to bypass the last Central Excise and Customs duty post at Selin Village on the road to Aizawl via Saitual Tualbung - Khanpui - Tipaimukh - Aizawl Road.
He said the smuggled arecanut is levied 5 per cent GST even though there is not a single drying or processing unit existing in Mizoram for justifying the levy. Arecanut plantations are very minimal in the two districts.
The need of the hour for the Union government to take immediate corrective steps by nullifying the various measures undertaken to validate the smuggled arecanut through the Indo-Myanmar border in violation of rules and regulations and to have a strict vigil at the borders, he said.
Kodgi said a memorandum submitted by Vanramchhuangi, social and environmental activist from Mizoram, to the Prime Minister highlighted the smuggling of dried arecanut from foreign countries to India through Indo-Myanmar border of Mizoram.
He said Campco has verified the marketing scenario at Mizoram and supports the contents of the memorandum submitted by Vanramchhuangi to the Prime Minister.
Such illegal entry of arecanut into India through the country’s North-Eastern region may affect the domestic arecanut farming community, he said, requesting to direct the authorities concerned to initiate immediate remedial action.