WCCB seizes agar wood chips at Guwahati airport

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A joint operation by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), customs, CISF and forest department seized 28 KG of Agar wood chips from one Mohammad Zammir Uddin of Hojai at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport here on Wednesday.

The consignment was for exporting to Bahrain via New Delhi. WCCB officials said that the person was not having any valid permission required under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) for export or re-export of Agar wood chips.

Agar wood is included under Appendix II of CITES, and permission for export or re-export is mandatory.

WCCB officials said that even the transit permit (TP) in possession with the person was found to be fake. TP is also a mandatory for carrying forest produce from one place to another found.
“The TP the person possessed was from Golaghat forest division. The date of issuance of TS was on July 24. Our investigation found no record of the officer who signed the TP. It was a fake TP, and a racket was involved in producing such document,” a WCCB official said.

The official added that a racket is thriving on producing fake TP for supplying Agar wood chips from the state to other parts of the country.

He said that the person procured Agar wood chips from a Hojai-based firm at the rate of Rs 4000 per kilogram.

“A case has been registered by the customs department. Our investigation is on the racket involved in this illegal trade of endangered species,” the official added.

The oil extract from Agar plant is a highly priced product used in perfume industry. Hojai in central Assam is one of the hubs of agar wood oil extraction.

But the export of agar wood has been prohibited since 1990s. However, imported agar wood is allowed for re-export as value-added herbal formulations, if these are manufactured only from the imported material.

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