Areca nut growers
Congress legislator Lalrindika Ralte at a press conference

Aizawl: Opposition Congress legislator Lalrindika Ralte sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the problems being faced by areca nut growers in Mizoram due to rampant smuggling of Burmese areca nuts via the state.

In a letter written to the Prime Minister on Monday, Ralte said there has been widespread illegal import of dry areca nuts from neighbouring Myanmar and elsewhere through the porous border in the eastern side of Mizoram.

Although the Centre has directed the governments of Mizoram and Manipur to curb the illegal import of areca nuts, “the way the Mizoram government has been reacting to this unhealthy situation was very pathetic and short of expectation from a state government.” Ralte said. 

Ralte, who was elected from Hachhek constituency in western Mizoram’s Mamit district, said his constituency is the largest areca nut-producing area in the state, where about 70 per cent of the residents are dependent on areca nut cultivation for earning livelihood for decades. While the Assam government is doing its best to curb the entry of illegal areca nuts into the neighbouring state, law enforcement agencies have not been able to distinguish Burmese areca nuts from those grown in Mizoram leading to severe market problems for local farmers, he said. 

The Congress leader urged the Prime Minister to take stock of the situation and make necessary efforts to stop the smuggling of areca nuts from Myanmar and also to clear marketing channels for Mizoram areca nut growers. 

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