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Rare wood smuggled into China
Published on 16 Dec. 2009 12:09 AM IST
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Indian investigating agencies have tracked a major international racket reportedly trading in the smuggling of endangered Red Sanders wood from Andhra Pradesh to China through the Moreh border. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence near Aizawl intercepted a consignment of around 2000 logs of the highly endangered forest produce, some time in October. At the same time, six Chinese nationals were apprehended from a retired police officer’s residence in Aizawl, where the consignment was hidden. Three of them did not have any visa or papers. The other three did not have permit to enter Mizoram. Surprisingly, they have been let off without any action. According to a report in NDTV, since August this year, at least 100 metric tonnes of Red Sanders has been seized in Manipur and Mizoram, valued at Rs 4 crore. It fetches six times more in the international market. Six hundred metric tonnes of wood were in transit in Dhubri and Burdawan, where the forest department has seized it. “Red Sanders is an endangered species. it is smuggled out of India mainly through Manipur and Mizoram and a smuggling racket is operating,” said B B Dhar, Chief Conservator of Forests (Vigilance). “Red Sanders has no known use in India. Internationally, it is used in the making of Japanese musical instruments and Chinese medicine. It is found only in the three districts of Chittoor, Cuddapah and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and is smuggled out of the state by an international syndicate run by Veera Moreh Shekhar, who is reportedly based in Malaysia. But given its high-value demand and the presence of rare earth elements like Thorium and Uranium, Indian agencies suspect that it has other use as well.

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