With its stunning backwaters, vibrant culture, and lush green landscapes, Kerala has long been a popular tourist destination. However, there is a darker side to this picturesque state that often goes unnoticed – gold smuggling.
Gold smuggling has become a significant issue in Kerala, with the state accounting for a large portion of India’s total gold smuggling cases. In this blog post, we aim to unravel the reasons behind why gold smuggling is higher in Kerala and shed light on the factors contributing to this illegal trade.
The Cultural Connection
One of the primary reasons for the prevalence of gold smuggling in Kerala is deeply rooted in its cultural practices. Gold holds immense value in the state, not just as a status symbol but also as an integral part of religious ceremonies and customs. Weddings, festivals, and other auspicious occasions in Kerala witness a surge in gold purchases, making it an essential commodity for the people.
However, the high import duty imposed on gold in India pushes the prices up significantly, thereby creating a lucrative market for smuggled gold. The desire to own gold and the inability to afford it legally has led many individuals to resort to smuggling as a way to fulfill their aspirations.
The Geographical Advantage
Kerala’s unique geographical position contributes to its vulnerability to gold smuggling. The state shares water borders with the Lakshadweep Islands, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, making it an ideal location for illegal gold trade. Smugglers often exploit the coastal routes and use fishing boats to transport gold undetected, taking advantage of the state’s vast coastline.
The maze of backwaters, canals, and rivers in Kerala provides smugglers with hidden routes and safe havens to carry out their illegal activities. The difficulty in monitoring these waterways makes it challenging for authorities to curb gold smuggling effectively.
The Economic Factor
Another crucial factor contributing to the higher incidence of gold smuggling in Kerala is the state’s economic situation. Unemployment rates and poverty levels in Kerala are relatively high compared to many other states in India. The allure of quick money through gold smuggling attracts individuals who are desperate for financial stability.
Smuggling gold presents an opportunity for those who are unable to find stable employment or earn a sufficient income. The potential profits from gold smuggling are substantial, which entices many individuals to get involved in this illicit trade.