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Truck ‘carrying’ smuggled areca nuts set ablaze

Public’s distrust of police grows amid unchecked smuggling of areca nuts?

Aizawl: A truck suspected of smuggling areca nuts from Myanmar was set ablaze by a mob in Mamit district on Thursday morning (July 6) after it managed to pass through a police check gate.

Sources from the Hachhek Bial Kuhva Chingtu Pawl, an association representing areca nut growers within the Hachhek constituency, expressed their disappointment with the police’s failure to carry out their duties effeciently, leading to a loss of trust among the public.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a leader of the Pawl revealed that they received a tip-off about an areca nut-laden truck en route to the Zamuang police check gate. Despite their desire to let the police handle the situation, they decided to monitor the police’s actions at the check gate.

To their astonishment, they discovered that the police merely glanced at the truck’s registration plate and allowed it to pass through. Enraged by this blatant negligence, a crowd pursued the truck and caught up with it a few kilometers away, where it was ultimately set on fire.

The association accused certain dishonest policemen of manning the check gate, insinuating their involvement in facilitating the smuggling operation.

Local areca nut growers have been vigilant in monitoring the movement of trucks transporting smuggled areca nuts from Myanmar since last year. They have faced challenges in selling their fresh produce in markets outside Mizoram, particularly in their largest market, Assam, following the Assam government’s crackdown on smuggled areca nuts. The growers argue that the Assam government can distinguish between smuggled nuts and locally grown ones in Mizoram, putting them at a disadvantage.

Despite their pleas, the state government has not taken sufficient measures to address the issues faced by growers in selling their areca nuts in local markets or transporting them outside the state.
This incident is not the first instance, as several similar incidents of torched areca nut-laden trucks have been reported in the past.

Within the Hachhek constituency, which comprises 32 villages, 30 villages actively engage in betel nut plantations, highlighting the significance of the areca nut industry in the region.

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