Timber smuggling in border area on the rise

Published On: August 29, 2017 02:59 AM NPT By: Nirmal Ghimire

BARDIYA, August 29: A police squad from District Police Office, Bardiya has confiscated a large amount of illegal Sal trees from the border area, raising concerns over the rise in timber smuggling across Nepal-India border.

Police confiscated a large number of illegal logs in the forest adjoining Murtiha-Katarniya of India. On Friday, the police squad seized 74 cubic feet of logs which were hidden in the fields. The market price of those raw logs is estimated to be more than Rs 400,000.
According to the locals, smuggling goes unchecked in the border area due to the negligence and carelessness of the security personnel. 

"It is very easy for the smugglers to steal timber,” said one of the locals, adding, "When those entrusted with the responsibility to control and monitor such illegal acts turn blind eye to this, nothing can be done." 

According to him, smugglers especially during night, have been using tractors for transporting timber from one place to another.

As per the sources, dozens of wood mills in the border area receive a large number of illegal timber. "Staff of the mill buy the illegal wood and then sell them in various parts of the country including Pokhara and Kathmandu," said a source seeking for anonymity.
Acting on a tip off, police in plain clothes had reached Badhaiya Tal Rural Municipality-2, Phutaha where they confiscated Sal logs last week. As informed by SP Bharat Bahadur Bohara, the market price of the timber is worth millions of rupees.  "Most of the time, we try our best to nab the smugglers but they somehow know about our arrival in advance and succeed in running," said SP Bohora.

As per the preliminary investigation of police, it has been found that those Sal logs were stolen from Indian forests. However, this is not the first time that police have confiscated illegal timber in the border area as there is a long history of such acts.

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