IMPHAL: Shangshak Battalion of 10 Sector Assam Rifles under the aegis of HQ IGAR (South), based on consistent intelligence input about illegal smuggling of Betel Nuts and Timber through Indo-Myanmar Border, launched an operation in the border villages of Makan, Wanglee and Namlee in the Kamjong district of Manipur on 28th January 2020.
Troops of Assam Rifles reached the site in early hours of the day and found that the smugglers had fled the area leaving the huge dumps of contraband items unattended, the IGAR(S) said in a press release. It appears that the recent crackdown by Assam Rifles and various Government agencies on the illegal activities, which were earlier being carried out through NH -102 (Imphal – Moreh axis), had made the smugglers and peddlers desperate to find alternate routes of smuggling. In this instance, it is evident that the illegal Timber and Betel Nuts were smuggled from Myanmar into Namlee, a border village and further brought to Wanglee and Makan villages, the IGAR(S) said.
These contraband items had been dumped illegally at these locations over a period of time by virtue of its remoteness and accessibility from the Kabaw valley. These items are then further moved into Indian markets through Dimapur to other parts of country. However the constant vigil by Assam Rifles in the area has prevented these smuggling activities in the border areas, the IGAR(S) said.
It is clearly evident from these recoveries that Free Move Regime (FMR) is being constantly exploited and abused by the smugglers, the absence of Civil Administration in these areas further provides a free run for such activities. The village Wanglee is remotely accessible within Indian Territory and is located far away from the nearest Forest Range Office at Kasom Khullen and the Customs Department Office at Imphal. However, the constant vigil by Assam Rifles has led to the seizure of the contraband items.
A total of 1353 bags of Betel Nuts weighing approximately 82 Tonnes with a market value of worth Rs. 2.44 crore and a total of 491 numbers of logs of different categories of Timber worth approximately Rs. 2.5 core were seized at these locations. The recovery is one of the largest recoveries of contraband items in the recent times and a major blow to the nexus of illegal activities.