Forest officials in Chhattisgarh's naxal-hit Bijapur district Sunday thwarted an audacious smuggling operation in forests by seizing large quantities of teak wood from the Indravati river, a senior official said Tuesday. The wooden logs smuggled from neighbouring Maharashtra were being transported to Telangana through the river route.
The value of the seizure is estimated at Rs 12 lakh, the officer said. Three forest personnel sustained minor injuries when smugglers hurled stones at them while fleeing in the forest under the cover of darkness. "Forest officials spotted the teak logs floating in the Indravati river in Bhopalpatnam area of the district, around 450 kms from here, on the night of December 2 during patrolling," Divisional Forest Officer (Bijapur division) Gurunathan N told PTI.
He said forest officials recovered 83 logs from the river. "Three forest personnel sustained minor injuries in the incident," he said, adding that the Sunday's seizure was the biggest in the recent past, as several consignments of teak wood being smuggled through the river had been recovered in the last two-three months.
Efforts are on to trace the smugglers, he added. The DFO said smugglers cut down teak wood trees in Gadchiroli forest in Maharashtra and smuggle the logs to Telangana via Chhattisgarh. "They exploit flow of the Indravati river after monsoon to smuggle teak wood to Telangana," he said.
Explaining the modus operandi of smugglers, the DFO said they tie wooden logs in the form of rafts and throw them into the river which flows along the densely forested and insurgency-hit bordering areas of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Telangana. "These logs are then picked up downstream," he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)