India losing revenue due to smuggling of betel nuts into W. Bengal

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Siliguri, July 31 (ANI): India is losing revenue worth millions of rupees every year due to smuggling of betel nuts into West Bengal from Nepal, said an custom official.

"Revenue is affected because there is a 100 per cent duty on betel nuts if they import regularly into regular channels," said R Manga Babu, Additional Commissioner of Customs, North Bengal and Sikkim.

Babu said that there is a racket involved in the smuggling and is not just confined to 'carriers'.

"Not only this normal 'carriers', we want to go deep and break the racket who are actually investing money into this business and trying to smuggle this kind of goods into India," he added.

Reportedly, the Indian custom department has seized betel nuts worth rupees 40 million in 2008-2009.

Betel nuts have a good demand, as they are popular mouth fresheners in India.echi River Bridge in Panitanki, along the Indo-Nepal border is being used to smuggle sacks of betel nuts.

These Indonesian-origin betel nuts are imported by Nepal to be used for local consumption. But a good amount of this makes way to India because of better margins.

Often locals also known as 'carriers' are involved in smuggling. Parties unknown to carriers pay them meagre amounts for the work. They then supply it to different parts of India.

There is 100 per cent duty on import of betels. (ANI)

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