Guwahati: The Mizoram government has decided to crack down on those possessing the Chinese-origin Kenbo bike illegally procured from Myanmar.
On 7 September, Deputy Commissioner of Lunglei district V. Lalsangliana issued a notice prohibiting the plying of Kenbo (KB125) bikes that are mostly used to transport illegal goods along the India-Myanmar border, according to officials.
A similar order had earlier been passed by the deputy commissioner in Champhai.
“It was never allowed but somehow made its way through the border,” a home department official told ThePrint. “We are in the process of collecting information on the presence of these bikes in different districts. We are doing a survey right now.”
The district administration notification comes after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs directed the state government to take “appropriate action” to prevent the illegal plying of unregistered Chinese Kenbo bikes in Mizoram, particularly in the absence of a vehicle agreement with the Burmese government.
In a letter written to the Mizoram chief secretary on 18 June, Jitendra Kumar Jha, Under Secretary to central government, has said the Assam Rifles had intimated the MHA on 31 March about Chinese unregistered Kenbos plying in Nagaland and Mizoram for smuggling of illegal goods.
The letter also noted that the issue was raised during a meeting held under the chairmanship of secretary (Border Management) on 17 February regarding flow of goods and movement of people along the border.
‘Used for smuggling’
The Kenbo KB125 is a motorcycle manufactured by China’s Yinxiang Motorcycle Manufacturing Company in the Yunnan Province.
While the Kenbos are in high demand in Myanmar, sources said they are illegally sold in the Indian black market for Rs 30,000-40,000. China has ramped up production in Myanmar in recent years eyeing to expand businesses in South Asian markets, including India and Bangladesh. The 125cc model is preferred by commuters to carry heavy loads up the hilly tracts in border villages.
Law enforcement agencies, however, allege that it is used to smuggle goods too. On 4 September, security forces seized 72 bottles of Myanmar-made liquor ferried in an unregistered Kenbo bike in Champhai district. According to sources, some of these bikes are locally registered in remote areas by the village council on a payment of Rs 200-250.
Between October 2019 and August 2020, the Assam Rifles had seized heroin worth Rs 5.6 crore, methamphetamine and pseudoephedrine tablets with a combined value of Rs 34.16 crore, some of which were transported on these bikes.
India and Myanmar (Burma) have a Free Movement Regime (FMR) that allows people living along the border to travel 16 km into each other’s territory without a visa.
But the 512-km-long India-Myanmar border in Mizoram remains a viable option for smugglers and traffickers, and the unhindered movement has further escalated cross-border smuggling. There are 55 crossing points throughout the border and maximum seizures have been made in Champhai district.