ECONOMYNEXT – A resident of Kandakadu was taken into custody by the Sri Lanka Army today while trying to transport a consignment of raw turmeric worth Rs 25.8 million and cardamom worth Rs 1.6 million, the Army media unit said.
The suspect was nabbed with 108 bags (approximately 4,300kg) of raw turmeric and five bags (approx. 80kg) of cardamom while transporting them in a Bolero Cab.
According to the Army, the apprehended items amount to:
Turmeric: Rs 25.8 million (4,300kg x Rs 6,000)
Cardamom: Rs 1.6 million (80kg x Rs 20,000)
Total: Rs 27.4 million
Turmeric and cardamom are considered essential for Sri Lankan cuisine. Turmeric is also used for medical purposes.
The suspect, a resident of Salnathuram, Kandakuda, Thalawila Church, has been transferred to the Talaimannar police station for further investigations, the Army said.
Sri Lanka has seen a growing demand for turmeric after it imposed an import ban earlier this year.
On the one hand, the ban has encouraged local farmers to grow the crop, a practice that had stopped years ago in areas such as Ampara. However, the ban has also boosted a black market. An article by The Guardian dubbed it as the “new gold”.
Over the past few months, Sri Lanka Customs and the Army nabbed several people attempting to smuggle turmeric into the island.
Today, Customs too detected a stock of turmeric worth Rs 19 million concealed in a container carrying 80,000kg of big onions.
According to media reports, the consignment was imported from Dubai in four containers by a trader in the Pettah market.
Ada Derana, a local media organisation, quoted the Sri Lanka Customs saying that it seized around 1 million kilograms of smuggled turmeric into the country through various avenues. (Colombo/Dec14/2020)