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Cross border smuggling on rise in Indo-China border

For second time in past 13 months police has detected cross border smuggling on “porous” border with China in remote Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. This has once again raised serious questions about the security along the border Gaurav Bisht reports.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2011 18:17 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times

Trafficking of rare stuff - in high demand at the international market - is on the rise on India’s border with China in Himachal Pradesh. For second time in past 13 months police has detected cross border smuggling on “porous” border with China in remote Kinnaur district raising questions about security arrangements.

Police on Monday seized two trucks laden with costly pashmina wool that was smuggled from Chinese villages to Indian border. The estimated cost of the seized wool is pegged at around Rs 1.5 crore in the international market. The police seized these trucks near Kharo in Pooh subdivision that is 100 kilometers from Nako a village close to China border in the district.

Reliable sources have told Hindustan Times that consignment of pashmina wool had been brought from the border villages in China. The pashmina wool that weighs about five tonne had been brought on the pony backs from Churup village in China administered Tibetan Autonomous Region. The wool is harvested from Himalayan mountain goat. The goat is found in Kashmir, Tibet and Nepal primarily. As pashmina wool set the fashion world on fire in the 1990s, it has high price in the international market.

Sources said that cops have also found some quantity of shatoosh wool sheared from rare Tibetan antelope Chiru. Wildlife reports have put that 20,000 of the wild animals that live on China's Tibetan Plateau are killed each year or are either shot in herds by automatic weapons or caught in leg-hold traps-for their prized coats. The shahtoosh trade was banned globally in 1975 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) following a fall in the number of the antelopes. The Indian government followed and banned the trade in 1991.

The local drivers of the impounded trucks have told police that the wool was being taken to police. Local cops are also questioning one Kamla Nand a local said to be having close connections with Chinese traders. Reliable information said that Nand was arrested few days back while smuggling rare scotch Whiskies to China villages. Nand is said to informer for the military sources.

If sources are to be believed police had seized two trucks laden with pashmina wool and about eight other have already made their way into the Delhi markets. “Right now we cannot say anything except that tow trucks laden with Pashmina wool had been seized,” said Superintendent of Police in Kinnaur Ashok Kumar.

In August 2010 police has seized 12 tonnes of red sanders wood that was enruote to China. Red sanders wood grows in the forest of Andhra Pradesh is in high demand in China. The red sanders wood contains thorium is used as coolant in the old fashioned nuclear reactors; it is also used in medicines and making musical instruments in China.

Investigations revealed that the truck drivers had been issued permits by Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) officers. ITBP is responsible for managing the security along Indian border in two tribal districts Lahual and Spiti and Kinnaur. The police sleuths had detected involvement of ITBP officials in the incident. A commandant and cops had been suspended for their involvement.

The latest case of cross border smuggling had once again raised question about the security along the Indo-China border.

First Published: Sep 05, 2011 19:58 IST