Crunching times for sellers, users of betel nuts and leaves in Dimapur
Dimapur, April 27 (EMN): The government of Nagaland had banned spitting in public places with effect from March 23, which was notified by the principal secretary of the Urban Development department.
Meanwhile, betel leaves and betel nuts, which are non-essential commodities, are still available in the market at a higher rate since it is running out of stock.
While speaking to Eastern Mirror, one of the sellers informed that the rate of betel leaves had increased due to its unavailability in the market and they were finding it difficult to import it from Assam since the government had ordered a ban on transportation of non-essential commodities.
The price of old betel leaves is INR 50 per 20 pieces and the new leaves cost around INR 15 per 20 pieces. He also added that the wholesale rate would be around INR 43 and INR 13 per 20 pieces.
Another seller informed that all the betel leaves and betel nuts come from Assam and they purchase it from Super Market at wholesale rate.
He informed that due to shortage, he is selling 40 pieces of betel nut at INR 200 and 20 pieces at INR 100.
Eighty pieces of betel nut cost INR 320 in the market, he informed and the wholesale rate cost around INR 290 to 300. He added that it is in ‘high demand right now’.
Another seller informed that right now, stocks are available in the market since the restriction on opening shops has eased, but at a higher rate.
He informed that before the lockdown, the betel leaves cost around INR 20 to 25 per 20 pieces in the market but now the cost has doubled, but people were still buying it.
He also informed that earlier, he used to sell ‘paan,’ but now the price in the market has increased so much that there is no profit. In order to make profit, he has to sell it for around INR 15 to 20 per piece, he informed and since the ‘customer would argue with him for the high price’, he decided to stop selling it.
When queried about tobacco, he said that right now tobacco was completely running out of stock in the market, and in most of the shops, it was all empty. Moreover, the government has banned the selling of tobacco, he added.
While speaking to a woman, who is a wholesaler of betel nuts and leaves, she said that she was able to get half a sack of betel nuts from one of her suppliers on Tuesday but it was sold out in the morning itself.
She informed that betel nuts cost INR 260 per 80 pieces at wholesale rate.
She also informed that the betel leaves cost INR 30 per 20 pieces and added that she was not sure if she could get betel nuts today (Tuesday) since it is very difficult to transport them. Moreover, all the supply comes from Hazi Park, which is closed due to the lockdown.
Only a few betel leaves and unprocessed betel nuts are left at her shop. She informed that the unprocessed betel nuts were bought from Dimapur itself.
While speaking to one of the police officers at the Assam-Nagaland check gate, he informed that only essential commodities are allowed to enter Nagaland from Assam. Moreover, they check the receipt of the essential commodities that are loaded in the vehicle.
He added that the vehicle has to be sanitised first and they never allow vehicles that carry non-essential items to enter.
“Even ambulances from Assam are not allowed into Nagaland, how can we allow betel nuts and betel leaves transportation?” he said.
He also said that under the guise of essential commodities, vehicles entering Nagaland might be concealing other items. However, he said they cannot check all the vehicles that are fully loaded with essential commodities.
The officer added that some stock might be available in Nagaland since the lockdown was enforced all of a sudden.
While speaking to the Commissioner of Police, Dimapur, Rothihu Tetseo, he informed that the government has banned sale of liquor, ‘gutka’ and tobacco but has not specifically mentioned betel nuts and betel leaves.
Tetseo added that all essential goods from Assam were allowed to enter Nagaland and even from Nagaland some essential items are transported to Assam. Not only betel nuts and leaves, even some items that are not allowed might be concealed in the essential commodities carrier, he said.
“Right now, all they have to do is take precaution and be very careful especially the containment areas,” he added.