Sandalwood, herbs smuggling up in BajhangSmuggling of precious medicinal herbs, red sandalwood and wild animal parts from the Urai Bhanjyang border crossing in Bajhang has surged in recent times.
Smuggling of precious medicinal herbs, red sandalwood and wild animal parts from the Urai Bhanjyang border crossing in Bajhang has surged in recent times.
The border point lies 30 km from the Nepali Border Security Post in Dhuli, Kanda VDC. Porters are staying in tents in an open area at Kakarkot in Kanda VDC-3 with quintals of Jatamasi, Katuki, Rato Chyau and other medicinal herbs.
Mangal Bohara of Kanda said the precious medicinal herbs were collected from the highlands of Bajhang and Darchula districts. “These herbs are being prepared to transport in Tibet,” said Bohara.
Bahadur Lama of Humla, a hotel operator near the border post in Tibet, said more than hundred quintals of Satuwa, Banlasun and Panchaaune, among other herbs, had already been shipped to Tibet from Urai Bhanjyang in the last two months. “It’s been a trend among people living here,” said Lama.
Local hotel entrepreneurs consider Urai Bhanjyang as a safer point to transport red sandal woods. As a result, smuggling of red sandal woods have surged these days, said a hotel operator in Tibet’s Lupu. “In the past, smuggling of tiger hides and musk deer glands were more,” he said, adding that around 37 qunitals of red sandalwood was transported to Tibet using 123 porters from Bajura last year.
The smugglers have been using the Urai Bhanjyang border point after the security was hightened at the Tatopani and Rasuwa border points. Around seven people of Bajhang and Humla are involved in the sales of musk deer glands in Taklakot, a trader of Kanda unveiled requesting anonimity. “I sold 11 musk deer glands for around Rs 55,000 to 65,000 apiece this year,” he said.
District Forest Officer Ashok Kumar Shrestha said difficult terrain means they have to walk for three days to reach Urai Bhanjyang from Dhuli. “The forest staff cannot stay in the border point due to the lack of proper infrastructure,” said Shrestha.
According to the District Police Office, smugglers would flee the scene as a police team reaches Urai Bhanjyang. Unlawful activities along the border point can be stopped if the government makes proper arrangements for police personnel to stay there, said Deputy Superintendent of Police Narendra Chand.