A delegation of arecanut cooperatives, led by the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd (Campco), has urged the Union government to curb the smuggling of arecanuts. It has also sought a ban on imports of pepper.
SR Satishchandra, president of Campco, the delegation met Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and other ministers in Delhi recently and submitted a memorandum in this regard.
He said arecanuts, which attract an import duty of 108 per cent on a minimum import tariff value of ₹251 a kg, are being smuggled into India from Myanmar with impunity. The smuggled commodity is entering the country through Silchar in Assam and Falakata in West Bengal, he alleged.
Satishchandra said this commodity is sent by rail and road to Nagpur, Kanpur, etc and the same is then sold in the Indian market in the range of ₹240 to ₹250 a kg. This translates into evasion of customs/import duty, causing a revenue loss in excess of ₹5,000 crore every year.
He added that the flooding of the domestic market with Myanmarese goods has caused havoc in the market. Farmers do not get a fair price for their produce, said Satishchandra.
He said the Commerce Minister has assured the delegation that the he would look into the matter.
The delegation also sought a ban on imports of black pepper. The domestic price of black pepper, which was hovering at ₹700-₹725 a kg in 2016, has now come down to ₹300 a kg following imports from Vietnam and neighbouring countries.
He said pepper is imported with a fake bill of landing from Sri Lanka. The commodity, which is being imported in the name of re-export, lands in India with a ‘certificate of origin’ as the produce off Sri Lanka and Nepal.
The domestic price ranges from ₹300 a kg to ₹320 a kg, far below the production cost.