Aizawl, Jan 1 (IANS): Mizoram Governor Lt Gen (retd) MM Lakhera has suggested a census of Myanmarese nationals staying in the northeastern State, bordering Myanmar, officials said here today.
Several NGOs and societal organisations recently met the Governor at Raj Bhavan and expressed concern over the sudden increase in crime and narcotics peddling, mostly attributed to the illegal Myanmarese immigrants in the State.
A State Home Department official said that the governor has directed the census officials to conduct a survey and specify which Myanmarese nationals are staying in Mizoram legally and which illegally.
The second and final phase of 2011 census would be carried out in Mizoram along with the rest of India from Feb 9 to Feb 28. The first phase of the census was held from May 15 to June 30, 2010.
The number of Myanmarese living in Mizoram is estimated to be 50,000. However, the unofficial estimate puts the figure at over 75,000.
The Mizoram government, with the permission of the Union Home Ministry, has given entry passes and temporary stay permits to Myanmarese migrants who work in jewellery shops, vehicular service centres, shops, restaurants, clothes factories, and at construction sites.
"However, a large number of Myanmar citizens illegally entered into the State and have been staying in different parts of Mizoram," the official added.
According to the official, the Mizoram Armed Police recently apprehended 52 Myanmarese from Aizawl and the State capital's outskirts where they have set up colonies.
The official said the illegal entrants would be soon pushed back to Myanmar after completion of some formalities.
Mizoram's people and ethnic Mizos from the Chin state of neighbouring Myanmar are allowed to engage in border trade within a 15-km strip along the international boundary in Mizoram and then return, but poverty-stricken majority of them choose to remain in Mizoram for a longer period.
It is difficult to identify Myanmarese Mizos as they have same features and language as the Mizos of Mizoram, which shares a 404-km border with Chin state in northwest Myanmar.