Kathmandu: Nearly seven tonnes of red sandalwood valued at Rs 2 crore was seized at Shimle in Nepal’s Sindupalchowk district while being smuggled to China via Tatopani border.
The District Police Office (DPO), Shimle, said 6,600 kilograms of red sandalwood loaded inside sacks of beaten rice and dust on a truck was seized on way to Tatopani bordering China yesterday.
“Red sandalwood was seized after investigation,” said Yuv Narayan Baidhya, police inspector of Barabise Area. He was quoted as saying by the Kantipur online that the “number plate was sticky,” and an attempt had been made to tamper with it to avoid detection.
Tilak Karki, the truck driver said the red sandalwood was on its way to Dolalghat from where it would be later transfered to China via Tatopani on the east of the country.
Sources said that five trucks loaded red sandalwood passed through Tatopani customs and headed for the Chinese border. A week back, the police had seized 11 tonnes of red sandalwood from Naubise in Kathmandu.
Meanwhile, Nepal’s top watchdog, the Commission of Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), has directed the authorities to clamp down on smuggling of red sandalwood from India to China via Nepal.
The CIAA, summoned Secretaries of Forest, Home and Finance Ministries as well as officials of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department, Customs Department, Revenue Investigation Department, Forest Department and Police Headquarters yesterday to devise ways to check the growing incidents of sandalwood smuggling.
The Commission is also learnt to have directed the government to formulate necessary law to implement CITES international convention against illegal trafficking of endangered species of fauna and flora of which Nepal is a party, nepal news online said today.