Narinjara news

Urea Fertiliser for smuggling into Burma

Teknaf, 14 March 03: 
The Coast Guards of Bangladesh last Friday night nabbed eleven people while they were trying to smuggle a trawler-load of urea fertiliser, according to a report in the Daily Star on 12th March.

The trawler was chased and seized offshore Shahpari Dweep Island near Teknaf, in the southeastern tip of Bangladesh as it was purportedly heading towards Burma.  The paper also demanded that a number of well-organised rackets have long been involved in smuggling urea.

On the other hand the vast coastline between Shahpari Dweep and Chittagong is notorious for rampant cross-border smuggling that extends to Kolkata, Rangoon, Bangkok, Singapore and even to faraway destinations like Karachi, UK and USA, alleged many of the conscious citizens.

The goods smuggled into the country include international brand cigarettes, beer, wristwatches, alcohol, electronic goods including home appliances and cellular phones.   The amount of smuggling, the paper alleges, runs as high as 15 to 50 million US dollars every month.  The spots where the goods are unloaded include Anwara, Banskhali, Sitakunda and Patenga  all within a fifty-kilometre radius from Chittagong.

The paper also alleged that there are two powerful smuggling syndicates operating with 24 smaller umbrella groups in connivance with a section of the customs, port and police personnel. 

Burma being an agricultural country depends heavily upon chemical fertilizer either imported or smuggled from neighbouring countries.  But the military regime can hardly market enough supplies of fertilizer to meet the demand at home.  That situation has created a huge market for fertilizer in the home front so that the smuggling rice boats from Burma on their return usually take back tons of fertilizers with them.

In a like manner pharmaceutical products including birth control pills and condoms that are banned items in Burma are in hot demand, too.  As Burma does not have enough pharmaceutical production companies it has to depend upon either imported or smuggled products, and the products from Bangladesh are both cheap and of good quality so that they make inroads into the smuggling markets of Burma. #