News & Information From Northeast India

COVID-19 lockdown: Betel leaves worth Rs 90 lakh rotting at Imphal airport

Betel leaves or paan, reportedly worth more than Rs 90 lakhs, are rotting in as many as 301 baskets, without any takers, at the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal.

Three cargo flights transported the consignment from Kolkata to Imphal on April 4 amid the COVID-19 pandemic-induced nationwide lockdown. The photos of the consignment soon went viral on the social media with many people slamming the insensitivity while opining that such cargo flights could have been used for essential medical supplies instead.

While the consignment cannot be moved outside the airport because of the lockdown regulations – which disallows ferrying of non-essential items – a report in the Imphal Free Press on April 13 said that the packets are beginning to rot.

A case has been registered and the court has ordered the food safety officials to carry out an investigation of the consignment – if the paan leaves are still fit for consumption.

The Imphal Free Press report said that a food testing laboratory located at Lamphel, MACS will conduct a test of the betel leaves. The report further said that the cargo was worth around Rs 90,30,000 and was transported for consumption with a valid permit from the Civil Aviation Ministry.

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