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North East favourite transit route for International Smugglers

North East favourite transit route for International Smugglers

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 Dec 2018 5:07 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: The Northeast, especially Tinsukia in Assam, has become the most favourite route for international smugglers to push their goods into India as well abroad due to the region’s proximity with five foreign countries. Tinsukia is the main transit point from where smugglers, in cahoots with unscrupulous officials, operate.

Sources in the Customs department here told The Sentinel that the Northeast shares borders with Myanmar, China, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal and this stretch has been a favourite route for smugglers owing to poor security infrastructure.

“The unfenced Indo-Myanmar border at Jokhawthar in Mizoram and Moreh in Manipur continue to be major entry points for international gold and drug smuggling gangs,” the source said.

During the current financial year (2018-19) the sleuths of Customs Division, Guwahati (having jurisdiction in major parts of the Northeast) have so far seized smuggled gold worth Rs 363.82 lakh, narcotic substance of nearly Rs 183.57 lakh and cigarettes of Rs 34.92 lakh.

In the previous financial year (2017-18) the Customs Division, Guwahati had seized gold worth Rs 1367 lakh, narcotic substance of Rs 214 lakh and wildlife of Rs 18.01 lakh. Various other items worth Rs 317.48 lakh were also seized in the same year.

Figures of seized smuggled materials indicate the increasing trend of smuggling in the Northeast. While the Customs Division had seized smuggled goods worth Rs 956.78 lakh during 2015-16, the value of seized materials had gone up to Rs 1253 lakh in 2016-17. The seizure of such goods is seen keeping a rising trend with good worth Rs 1916.49 lakh seized in 2017-18. However, the goods seized so far is just a minuscule of the huge quantity of such goods being transited through the region.

“The smugglers generally bring items like gold and silver to Assam by train or plane. Most of the smuggled gold is entering the Northeast through channels operating in the country’s porous borders of Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. The hawala route is used to pay for such imports,” the source said.

Besides gold, narcotic substance and other materials the highly porous India-Bangladesh border has also resulted in smuggling a huge number of cattle the Northeast particularly Assam and Meghalaya every day.

Also Read: Guwahati Now Transit Point for Contrabandists and Smugglers

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