TODAY -

Betel leaves traders at time of crisis should not be let free
- Imphal Times Editorial :: April 07 2020 -



May be it is not illegal. But the question that is being asked from sections of people are – Why at this time?

Everybody knows betel leaves are not essential commodities.

Saying so some people are addicted to Tobacco pan which is prepared using betel leaves.

Unofficial data collected from various sources said that nearly 80% of the total population of Manipur consumed Tobacco mixed pan.

But then, these people even though felt that they can live without pan suffer nothing when it is not available in the market.

To be precise consuming Tobacco pan is is simply a habit and not addiction.

For drug users, it’s a different story, until they are properly treated with detoxification or other medication they are dependent to the intoxicant substances that they used.

On the other hand, a person cannot survive without food.

Manipuris live on rice as their food. May be food habit varies from community to community.

But people need food and are essential items.

At a time when people across the globed is fighting COVID -19, by locking down almost all the countries across the world, medicine is essential items.

Even fuel which was considered as essential items are now essential for only few frontline worriers of COVID-19 like Doctors, nurses and other health workers and Security forces which are controlling the spread of the virus.

The unfortunate part is that when the state is also in crisis-fighting the unseen enemy coronavirus then is invading to human spices locking down all movement and gathering and putting people inside their home, some vested interested person hired a cargo flight and loaded betel leaves for trading it to Manipur.

And what is more shocking is that among those bundles which have landed at Imphal Airport on April 4, a huge quantity is reported missing.

This is stated by People’s Action For National Democratic Movement (PANDM), which is a major component of the United Committee Manipur.

According to this civil society organization, the cargo flight transported 300 bundles of betel leaves from Kolkatta.

Of these 70 bundles of the betel leaves have been kept in the custody of Kakwa Police station.

That means 230 bundles of the betel leaves should be at the airport, but the matter has not been let to the public, the PANDM statement said.

Police reportedly picked up some persons who are involved in the transportation of the betel leaves at time of crisis.

But as per the source, those arrested in connection are contract labour of the Airport Authority.

It does not seem that those arrested have the capacity to hire a cargo flight to ferry betel leaves at a time when the country calls on restrictions of all non-essential items.

There are the possibility that some influential persons who have high contact with top government authority may have involved.

State police which is often control by politicians may be helpless to book those involved if in case the assumption by Imphal Times turns correct.

Imphal Times suggests that the case be handed over to an independent investigation agency like the CBI to make sure that those crooks who attempted to suck the blood of the people at the time of crisis be punished.



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