Kendrapara, Feb 26(LocalWire) : Angry over the devastating Pulwama terror attack in which two of the 40 martyred CRPF jawans were from Odisha, the paan traders from the state have decided to stop their supplies to Pakistan.
Betel leaf farmers in Odisha, some 3,000 of them, are mostly located in the districts of Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Balasore, and have been exporting their paan through agents in Mumbai.
“Each week, we used to export paan to Pakistan through the Mumbai-Karachi sea route and the Wagah border. But now, we have decided to stop our exports in response to the terror attack,” said Mumbai-based paan exporter Dwarika Prasad Chaurasia.
“Paan exported from India fetch around three to four times profit in Pakistan. Our betel leaves are cheaper than those coming from other counties. We will not suffer any loss as we will continue our exports to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Middle East countries,” Chaurasia said.
“Many in Pakistan and Middle East countries like Odisha paan because of its extra large size, pungency and thick stalk. These qualities are not found in other betel leaf varieties in the country.
“Our betel leaves are a big hit in Pakistan because of the unique taste. The Pakistanis will now not chew our paan as they have killed our soldiers,” said betel leaf farmer Brunaban Das.
Basudev Swain, 56, a pan supplier from Kujang said, “Twice a week, I supply paan packets to Mumbai suppliers, who export them to Pakistan. I am now happy that our paan will not go to Pakistan.”
Naresh Das, a railway booking agent for paan traders in Bhubaneswar said, “We supply around 200 to 300 baskets of paan from Bhubaneswar to Mumbai by train each day. One basket contains around 2,000 paan leaves and each basket costs around Rs3,000.”
Odisha is set to witness a record production of betel leaves this season.
Betel leaf farmer from Kujang Anadi Jena said, “Due to a favourrable weather condition, we have recently harvested a large quantity of good quality paan.”