Red wood smuggling finds it way through Bengal

Madhuparna Das

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has zeroed in on the red sander wood smuggling which has been taking place through Bengal. Senior officials of police and the DRI claim there is a major international racket behind the smuggling of red sander wood from Andhra Pradesh to countries like China and Japan.

According to DRI sources, in the last two months, the special DRI team has seized five consignments of red sander wood which were being smuggled via Bengal. The DRI team has seized the consignments from Siliguri in Bengal and from some places in North-East India.

A highly placed DRI official said that in view of the increasing number of cases in Bengal, police and other intelligence agencies have been alerted to maintain a vigil on the trucks on national highways.

A senior DRI official said, “In the last five to six years, the smuggling of red sander wood from India to China has increased to a great extent. Earlier, the red sander wood used to be smuggled to Japan as the Japanese make a unique musical instrument using the wood. At present, the red sander wood is in great demand in China as it is used to make high-end furniture there. Red sander wood is not available anywhere in the world except in four districts of Andhra Pradesh.”

The official further said, “One tonne of red sander wood costs Rs 5-6 lakh in India. But in China and Japan, a tonne of it is sold at Rs 25-30 lakh. The smugglers have zeroed in on Bengal for transportation of the wood as it gives them an easy access to the Indo-Burma border. Moreover, most of the times, the smugglers use the Kolkata Port for sending the consignments to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Dubai from where they send it to China.”