Amid the crisis in the state that is entering its fourth month with over a hundred killed and thousands displaced, about nine tonnes of Myanmar areca nut (dried betel nuts) are being reportedly transported from the state on a regular basis through a flight cargo service.
According to reliable sources, the Myanmar areca nuts are being transported to Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.
A syndicate comprising seven members is reportedly doing business of Myanmar Areca Nuts, exporting it to other states through Indigo Cargo service from Bir Tikendrajit International Airport, Imphal, the sources said.
As per a media report, it is stated that Burmese supari, also known as Burmese betel nut, is a type of areca nut that is banned in India due to its potential to cause cancer. The areca nut itself is not considered to be carcinogenic, but Burmese supari is said to contain higher levels of alkaloids, which can be associated with an increased risk of cancer.
However, Myanmar areca nuts are in high demand in India. Tonnes of it are being smuggled through Kamjong district from Myanmar by taking advantage of unfinished Indo-Myanmar border fencing, the sources said.
Recently, a total of 144 bags of areca nuts worth Rs 8.64 lakh were recovered which were handed over to the concerned Forest official. It was reported in the media that the said consignment was illegally smuggled from Namlee market, Kamjong district, to Ukhrul and further for black market sale.
The sources said that some high-ranking public figures are allegedly involved in the business. Indigo Cargo service charges Rs 200 per kg of areca nuts as transportation fees, the sources added.