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Gold smuggling thrives in Manipur amid lockdown

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From Bhupen Goswami

GUWAHATI : Gold from Myanmar has started to cover indian markets. Most of it is reaching India through smuggling. Myanmar’s geographical location and laxity in surveillance on the international border have made it a great deal for smugglers. The forest and hilly areas along the border have started getting a boost to the smugglers. The huge price difference between 3 and 4,000 rupees per gram against Myanmar in Indian markets has also made it a profitable deal. More than 43 kg of gold biscuits worth more than Rs 21 crore were recovered by revenue intelligence directorate officials from Imphal in Manipur. They have been seized. In fact, on receiving information about gold smuggling, the authorities launched a checking operation in the city, after which a suspicious car was stopped with two people on board.Officials said that after questioning and intensive search, gold biscuits were recovered from inside when every corner of the car was searched. According to officials, it took them about 18 hours to remove 260 foreign-made gold biscuits from inside the car. I

n fact, smugglers have used this car for smuggling in the past. Gold smuggling continues in Manipur bordering Myanmar amid lockdown triggered by corona virus. In the last three months, about 67 kg of gold worth more than Rs 33 crore has been seized from Guwahati Zonal Unit Myanmar sector. Out of this, 55 kg of gold has been seized so far in June alone.Officials said gold is being smuggled from the Indo-Myanmar border. In view of the increase in covid cases, the Manipur government has extended the curfew in seven districts including Imphal till June 30 to reduce the impact of covid. Security agencies and experts say more border with Myanmar in Manipur has emerged as the most vulnerable destination for smugglers. Gold smugglers easily cross the border with goods by taking advantage of open border trade there. Agencies say there is a need to tighten border surveillance and negotiate with the Myanmar government to formulate an integrated plan to check large scale smuggling.

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