Smuggling of drugs, tobacco products, gold, and exotic animals from Myanmar is rampant in the northeast, especially Mizoram, but the Customs Department is facing shortage of manpower and inadequate warehouses.
Customs Department officials, led by Assistant Commissioner H.L. Songate on Wednesday met Mizoram Governor Hari Babu Kambhampati at the Raj Bhavanhere and discussed various issues including inadequate manpower.
A Mizoram government official said that the Customs officials apprised the Governor about the shortage of manpower and inadequacy of warehouses hampering their efficiency in checking inflow of goods from across the border with Myamar and Bangladesh.
Songate told the Governor that strengthening of infrastructures and facilities at the Zokhawthar and Lawngtlai Silsury Land Customs Stations could hugely help in better monitoring of border trade with the neighbouring countries.
The Governor assured the Customs officials that he would readily support them in mitigating various problems being faced by them and requested them to submit in writing any complaints they had or assistance they required.
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.
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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 is smuggling and illegal trade going on unchecked but the government is losing crores of rupees in revenue”.