Assam Rifles and Customs officials in a joint operation seized 190 cases of foreign origin cigarettes worth Rs 2.47 crore from eastern Mizoram’s Champhai district, a hotspot of illegal trade from Myanmar.
Officials on Thursday said that the para-military troopers of 23 Sector accompanied by Assam Rifles officials recovered the foreign origin cigarettes on Wednesday night from an abandoned place at New Zotlang of Champhai district, adjoining Myanmar. The seized items were handed over to the Customs department, Champhai to undertake further legal proceedings.
Ongoing smuggling of drugs and foreign origin cigarettes is a major cause of concern for Mizoram, especially along the India-Myanmar border, an Assam Rifles statement said.
The Mizoram-based International Trade Initiative Forum (ITIF) recently urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mizoram Governor to resume trade with Myanmar through the Zokhawthar border point.
ITIF President P.C. Lawmkunga, a retired IAS officer, who served as Manipur’s Chief Secretary, told IANS that “in the absence of the formal and regular official border trade between India and Myanmar, not only smuggling and illegal trade is going on unchecked but the government is losing crores of rupees in revenue.”