BARA, April 2: Smuggling of black pepper into India from Nepal is growing in the past few months.
District Police Office, Bara, on Friday seized a mini-truck after finding 60 quintals of black pepper being smuggled to India. Police stopped the truck for surprise inspection at a bordering village in Pacharauta Municipality-9.
Bara Police had deputed a team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Bhuvanehswar Prasad Sah after receiving tip-off that black pepper brought from Birgunj was being smuggled to India.
Sah told media persons that the truck driver, Biroj Kushwaha of Simraungadh Municipality-3, first told the police that the truck was carrying chicken feed. Upon inspection, police found sacks of black pepper carefully hidden between sacks of chicken feed.
The black pepper is worth around Rs 12 million, according to the police.
Earlier on March 21, police had seized a pickup truck carrying 50 sacks of black pepper from Simraungadh. A police team led by Sub Inspector Shyam Kishor Yadav of Area Police Office, Mahendra Adarsha, also arrested the driver, Deepak Pokharel of Hariban Municipality-8.
Likewise, in December last year, police seized 110 sacks of black pepper.
In the past few months, police have seized over 150 quintals of black pepper being smuggled to India.
Alarmed by increasing smuggling of black pepper into India, police have intensified inspection in bordering villages of Bara. Police have already seized black pepper worth millions of rupees while they were being smuggled to India, according to Raj Kumar Baidawar, Superintendent of Police of District Police Office, Bara.
Baidawar added that black pepper from third countries first enters Nepal illegally through porous border. It is then smuggled to India from villages where security personnel are not present.
Police say Indian businessmen are involved in this smuggling racket. As price of black pepper is high in India compared to Nepal, Indian businesspersons are smuggling black pepper to India from Nepal.
Black pepper is relatively expensive in India compared to Nepal as the southern neighbor levies high customs duty on farm products. Nepal levies 5 percent customs duty as well as 13 percent value added taxes on spices, including black pepper. Customs duty on spices is much higher in India, say police.
Involvement of business firms in bordering villages in the smuggling of black pepper to India has made the issue more challenging for police.