BJP Secretary receive threat over Pan-patta (Betel leaves) smuggling

Betel leaves
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On the night of November 13th, unknown miscreants fired several rounds of bullets at the house of BJP Manipur Pradesh secretary Kongkham Bikram at Imphal.

A proscribed militant group, Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) on Thursday claimed responsibility for the firing incident and stated that it was the last warning against K. Bikram’s involvement in smuggling betel leaves through Churachandpur district of Manipur. They alleged that Betel Leaves traders regularly pay huge amounts of money to Churachandpur-based Kuki-Zo groups, which are presently at conflict with the valley-based Meitei groups.

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While betel nut consumption itself is not illegal in India, many people outside Manipur or the Northeast do not understand the issue well. The real issue here is the illegal import of low-priced betel nuts from neighbouring countries like Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries without paying the taxes.

Reportedly, India allowed the tariff-free import of betel leaves from Myanmar in 1994, when the two countries signed a preferential trade agreement. But India reimposed a 40 percent tariff on the product in 2018, after importers started rerouting betel leaves through Myanmar to circumvent import tariffs.

This prompted border traders to illegally smuggle leaves into India through “unofficial” routes.

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