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The illegal areca nut trade sparked a high-level poll in India – The Diplomat

Circuit | Should be economical | South Asia

Cross-border smuggling is believed to have a strong backing from politicians, especially in Assam.

A truck loaded with areca nuts from Myanmar was arrested in Manipur.

Credit: Assam Rifles

A high-level investigation has been conducted in India about areca smuggling from neighboring countries. Also known as betel nut, they are widely chewed throughout South Asia, despite the harmful health effects. The illegal betel nut trade is said to have thrived thanks to the patronage of politicians and government officials in many states in the country.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has begun to act on orders from Bombay Supreme Court, heard a Public Interest Lawsuit alleging that unsafe and unsafe areca nuts were smuggled by traders involved in customs officials.

Most of these shipments are believed to be of Made in Indonesia, smuggled across the India-Myanmar and India-Bangladesh borders. Over the past five years, trucks loaded with nuts have been confiscated at several locations in the country, including the border states of Assam and Manipur in the northeastern border area.

In 2016, many 23 wagons Areca nuts were seized by railroads in Maharastra, believed to be loaded at a station in the eastern part of the country. Three years later, a First Information Report at a police station in Assam alleges that 200 trucks Areca nuts originating from Myanmar pass through the state every day without having to pay import duties.

“Various mechanisms are popping up along the border crossings with Myanmar and Bangladesh, involving the use of fake documents and manipulation of data to maintain operations,” said an unnamed government official. illegal trade.

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The CBI registered a case naming unknown Central Tax and Customs officials and private individuals believed to be actively involved in the incident, estimated to cause the damage. 150 billion rupees ($ 2 billion) for annual government dominance.

Smuggling is facilitated by trade agreements between countries in South Asia. A part of traders and government officials took advantage of the deal by falsifying that the areca nut from Indonesia was sourced from neighboring India. Traders produce fake certificates of origin and low-priced invoices to take advantage of the preferential rates applicable to goods produced by member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

“The truck is full supari (areca nut) is frequently seen on highways, but they always have the necessary papers. The police cannot prove that they are [the documents] is fake, ”said a former police official who was appointed in a border district of Assam two years ago.

Of all the states in India, areca nut smuggling is the largest argumentative in Assam, where the racquet is said to have the backing of powerful politicians and government officials. Opposition parties and activists have found this to be a convenient tool to attack the government led by BJP because they cannot end their commercial activities, one of many illegal organizations specializing in on various commodities thrive in the border state.

However, unlike imported areca nut, most of these conglomerates in Northeast India thrive by exporting commodities such as cattle, coal and boulders to Bangladesh, after sourcing This merchandise is from different destinations in the country.

In 2018, Assam’s rights activist Akhil gogoi disclosing details of the secret network that maintains areca nut smuggling from Myanmar. In response to the press, he revealed that the trade was being controlled from Golaghat and the Barak Valley in this state by rulers who guaranteed a regular supply of goods to the remote markets in Gujarat and Maharashtra from the country border.



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