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License Raj Hits Rice Import From Myanmar

IMPHAL, Sep 24: No final decision has been taken to import 30,000 metric tonne of rice from Myanmar to Manipur as the Joint Director General of Foreign Trade based at Guwahati has imposed restrictions on issuing the import license. According to a reliable source, though the Director General of Foreign Trade has already given the permission to lift 30,000 metric tonne of rice from Myanmar to Manipur Industrial Development Corporation (MANIDCO), the import license is to be issued by the Joint Director General of Foreign Trade based at Guwahati. However, the Joint Director General of Foreign Trade has written to the Director General of Foreign based at Delhi to withhold the issuance of import license.

When the written missive was also communicated to the Managing Director of MANIDCO, which has been entrusted by the State Government for lifting the rice opined that withholding import license may be on account of the visit of ASEAN Ambassadors’ team to Manipur recently. However, as the import license has not been provided even after the Ambassadors have left, suspicion of MANIDCO has been aroused. On its part MANIDCO has already completed the process of paying necessary fee for registration with the Joint Director General of Foreign Trade for getting the required import license.

On the other hand, as per the agreement on import of 30,000 metric tonne of rice from Myanmar, the rice is supposed to be lifted within September 30. If the rice is imported within this stipulated period, then no customs taxes would have to be paid. Otherwise, the taxes would have to be levied. With not much time left, MANIDCO has suspected that issuing of import license may have been withheld the possibility of importing the rice within the stipulated period is becoming remote with each passing day.

Nonetheless, to ascertain the truth of the matter, the Managing Director of MANIDCO is currently at Delhi to meet the Director General of Foreign Trade. Before the  Managing Director of MANIDCO left for Delhi, all the necessary ground level work for import of rice from Myanmar have been completed and local transport firms that have counterpart firms in Myanmar have also approached MANIDCO in this regard.

Though a letter has been send to the Director General of Foreign Trade for issuing the import license, no response has been received so far. In the meantime, Myanmarese Government has reportedly entrusted the Yangon based Htut Zay Aung Co. Ltd for necessary works in connection with sending 30,000 metric tonne of rice to Manipur.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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