Aizawl: The central executive committee of Young Mizo Association (CYMA) on Wednesday formed a committee to study and assess cross-border illegal trade in the state.

The formation of the committee came in the wake of a police case registered against Champhai district deputy commissioner Maria CT Zuali for torching over 100 dried betel nut bags allegedly smuggled from Myanmar recently.

The Wednesday meeting of the central executive committee of YMA widely deliberated about the smuggling of areca nuts and other illegal trade from southeast Asian countries, and formed a committee to study cross-border illegal trade, a statement issued by the organisation said.

The organisation also urged all its leaders and members not to indulge in the smuggling of areca nuts from southeast Asian countries, as it greatly impacted the Mizo society, the statement said.

It also urged the authorities to concertedly take measures to end the illegal trade, it said.

The meeting further decided to take efforts to permanently end the smuggling of areca nuts from southeast Asian countries. The organisation extended its solidarity to the Champhai DC for her bold action to stop illegal trade from neighbouring countries, the statement added.

Following a complaint filed by an illegal areca nuts transporter, a police case was registered against Maria CT Zuali for allegedly torching 150 bags of areca nuts smuggled from Myanmar recently.

Police said the Champhai district magistrate accompanied by other officials intercepted nine trucks fully loaded with smuggled areca nuts near Kelkang village in Champhai district on December 18. Five of the nine trucks managed to speed away before the official could take action, they said.

The officials unloaded the smuggled areca nut bags from three trucks and burnt them on the spot, they said.

Following the incident, an Aizawl-based areca nuts transporter name Lalhruaitluangi registered a complaint with state police against Maria CT Zuali, who is a Mizo Civil Service (MCS) officer.

The police complaint against the deputy commissioner drew flak from different quarters with opposition parties accusing the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) government headed by Chief Minister Zoramthanga of entertaining a smuggler.

Besides, several political parties and organisations, including Mizoram Civil Service Association (MCSA), also backed Maria and extended their solidarity.

During 2020, over 1,080 metric tons of smuggled areca nuts worth Rs 33.82 crore were seized and at least 148 cases registered in connection with the smuggling of areca nuts from Myanmar, the data said. 

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