Mangesh Raut, Loksatta
Nagpur : If betel nut is imported into India from abroad, then 103% of the original price has to be paid customs duty. It becomes costly to import foreign betel nut in such a large quantity. So betel nut sellers in Nagpur buy rotten betel nuts from Indonesia at cheap prices and bring them to India in two ways, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Nagpur is the largest betel nut market in the country. From Nagpur, betel nut is sold in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand and other states. Therefore, more than seven hundred traders of Nagpur are engaged in the business of this low quality betel nut. These betel nuts are smuggled from Indonesia to Nagpur and roasted in a sulfur dioxide furnace. It is then cut and sold in other ways. It consumes huge amount of government revenue. When Loksatta published a news series in this regard, the Chief Minister’s Office took cognizance of it. The Food and Drug Administration and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) then took action against betel nut traders in Nagpur and Vidarbha. In 2017, DRI raided 15 places and seized 300 tonnes of rotten arecanut. At that time a huge amount of shocking information had come to the fore. The matter is now being probed by the CBI as only several cases have been registered against him. Following the order of the High Court, the CBI has started investigation and conducted raids at 19 places in Nagpur, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Now all eyes are on who is involved in this investigation.
Stock in Sri Lanka..
India does not charge customs duty on goods produced in Sri Lanka. So smugglers from Nagpur take Indonesian arecanut from Myanmar to Sri Lanka by sea. Betel nut is stored at that place for several days. The betel nut is then brought to India showing that it is made in Sri Lanka. However, documents of hundreds of tons of arecanut found in Nagpur and Gondia showed this type.
A Myanmar smuggler Abdul Habib is responsible for carrying arecanut from the Myanmar border to the Indian border. After betel nut enters India via Mizoram, the fishermen brothers work to transport it to Nagpur. Noorani is in charge of unloading the arecanut from Sri Lanka to Mumbai port and sending them to Nagpur. Most of the arecanuts smuggled into India from Indonesia are sourced from Singapore-based Applied Logistics Company, Su. Choo. Company (Pte) and M.M. It comes through Trading Co. Ltd., this exclusive.
Arecanut is smuggled from Indonesia through Singapore-Thailand, Myanmar, Manipur-Silchar-Guwahati and Nagpur. Apart from this the Singapore-Myanmar-Sri Lanka-Mumbai-Nagpur route is also used. Trucks by sea and truck are used to smuggle betel nuts into India.
How much revenue has been lost?
‘This type has been going on for many years. Through this route of smuggling, 100 trucks of betel nut reach every nook and corner of the country.
It has been learned that if 103% of customs duty is diverted through this channel, there will be a loss of government revenue of at least Rs 500 crore every year.
First published on July 9, 2021 at 3:11 am
web title: Nagpur sellers buy rotten betel nuts from Indonesia at cheap rates and bring to India zws 70
Copyright © 2021 The Indian Express [P] Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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