Agarwood chips, leopard cat seized

Guwahati: Customs sleuths seized 180kg agarwood chips and a leopard cat cub in separate incidents here on Monday.

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An official source said the agarwood chips were seized from the luggage of two passengers at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport here.

The accused have been identified as Monir Ahmed and Hillaluddin of Hojai district in central Assam.

“The agarwood chips were detected in their two luggages – one containing 120kg and another 60kg – during screening by customs officials at the airport,” the source said.

“The agarwood chips were seized and the accused were detained as the papers they have produced were suspected to be fake. We have transferred the case to the forest department for further investigation,” he said.

The accused duo were supposed to board an Indigo flight to New Delhi. It is suspected that the consignment would have been illegally exported to the Middle East from New Delhi.

The oil extract from agar plant is a highly-priced product used in the perfume industry. The valuation of agarwood is approximate Rs 5-6 lakh per kg, in India. In the international market, the price goes up by two-three times depending on the market.

The source said the Indian Forest Act, 1927, regulates harvests and intra and inter state transport of agarwood.

“Controls are implemented through a permit system that is managed by the forest department. The divisional forest offices maintain records of licences and permits related to agarwood,” he said.

In another incident, a team of customs officials rescued a three-month-old leopard cat cub from two persons at Lalmati here on Monday.

The two accused were identified as Makaram Ali, 48, of Natun Deuchar village in Boko area of Kamrup district and Asiruddin, 36, a resident of Elora Path in city’s Hatigaon locality.

“They were arrested on charges of illegally attempting to export the animal in violation of wildlife rules,” the source said.

“The duo were apprehended when they were looking for prospective buyers for the cub, which they had brought from Goalpara district,” he said.

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