Aizawl: An umbrella body of transporters’ associations based in Myanmar border Champhai district staged an indefinite blockade on all goods illegally imported from the neighbouring country to protest against the alleged one-sided crackdown on smuggled areca nuts in the state, a leader said Thursday.
The indefinite strike, which came days after the torching of about 300 bags of smuggled areca nuts by volunteers in western Mizoram’s Mamit district recently, has entered the second day on Thursday.
A leader of Champhai District Lirther Inzawmkhawm Pawl (CDLIP) said that the strike began on Wednesday in all parts of Champhai district in protest against the biased approach to stopping the transportation of only Burmese areca nuts among all goods illegally entering from Myanmar.
He alleged that almost all goods, including vegetables and fruits coming from Myanmar are illegally imported to Mizoram.
“The CDLIP believes that the crackdown on lone areca nuts among all smuggled goods is a biased and irrational approach. It is seen as an insult and an attempt to disturb one of the main sources of income of the Champhai people,” he said.
He said no illegal goods from Myanmar had entered the state since Wednesday.
He said that most transporters in the district earn their living from the transportation of Burmese areca nuts, which has become the lone target of non-state entities recently due to its huge financial involvement.
The leader said that the association has urged the government and the people of the state to allow them to transport those areca nut bags, which have been already stored in various godowns in the Champhai district, to their final destinations.
One of the motives of the strike is to ensure that all goods from Myanmar enter the state legally, he added.
Officials of the state government and Central Customs department could not be contacted for comments.
Smuggling of areca nuts from Myanmar through Mizoram has become a serious issue since last year, with various associations, including the Young Mizo Association (YMA), the largest civic organisation in the state, launching massive efforts to curb the menace.
Opposition parties have accused the state government headed by Chief Minister Zoramthanga of not being proactive in curbing the menace.
An areca nut growers society in Mamit’s Hachhek assembly constituency has alleged that their market has been badly affected by the smuggling as they faced enormous problems in transporting their harvest outside the state.
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