KOCHI: The enforcement agencies may have tightened surveillance and plugged several porous spots in areas bordering Bangladesh and Nepal as well as the country’s airports, but the state’s relentless smugglers have joined hands with Thailand-based gangs to carve out a new gold route between Kerala and Manipur.
Demand for gold from Thailand and Singapore has gone up following crackdown by agencies on smugglers from Dubai and other West Asian countries, the traditional source of smuggled gold.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Customs are keeping a close watch on the development as rackets sneak into Manipur from Myanmar, and travel by road and rail routes to supply gold to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
The Ministry of Home Affairs data reveals there is a quantum leap in the flow of gold from Manipur. While only 61.56 kg gold was seized in the northeastern state in 2015-16, it jumped to 156 kg in 2017-18.
Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar said the rackets, after smuggling in gold through the Indo-Myanmar border, transport it mainly by road.