Mizoram: Areca nut growers to stage week-long protest from Tuesday
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Aizawl: A group of areca nut growers within the Hachhek assembly constituency in western Mizoram’s Mamit district bordering Assam’s Karimganj district has called for a week-long strike commencing from Tuesday to protest against the alleged government apathy towards their plights. 

The meeting of Hachhek Bial Kuhva Chingtu Pawl (HBKCP), an umbrella body of various betel nut grower societies in Hachhek constituency, on Monday decided to picket government offices within the assembly constituency from November 1 to 4, the society general secretary Lalremruata Khiangte said. 

The meeting also decided to block inter-state and intra-state highways from November 5 to November 8, he said. 

Khiangte said that the move was to mount pressure on the state government to ensure that the areca nut growers in the area don’t face constant problems to transport their products outside the state. 

He said that the areca nut grower society had approached higher authorities in the state government, including chief minister Zoramthanga, urging them to take concrete measures to ensure that the growers sell and transport their harvests outside the state without interruption. 

“We decided to stage a strike as repeated meetings with the chief minister and concerned officials yielded little results,” Khiangte said. 

He said that they would stage an indefinite total shutdown within the Hachhek area from November 9 if the government fails to take any concrete measures to address their plights on or before November 8. 

Khiangte alleged that the growers could not enter and transport their fresh areca nuts to Assam till now despite the decision of the chief ministers of the two states that Mizoram-grown areca nuts be allowed to enter Assam. 

During their meeting in New Delhi in September last, Zoramthanga and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma had agreed that both governments would take measures to ensure that Mizoram-grown fresh (green) area nuts are not seized in the neighbouring state so that they reach their final destinations.

A consignment consisting of 40 bags of fresh areca nuts weighing about 2,000 kilograms destined for Asimganj in Assam’s Karimganj district was intercepted on the way by Assam police and sent back to Mizoram on Monday, according to Khiangte.

Of 32 villages within the Hachhek constituency, 30 villages practice betel nut plantation, he said.

The Assam government is currently on a crackdown against smuggling of dried areca nuts smuggled from Myanmar via Mizoram. 

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