Guwahati, Sept. 21: The Silchar-Aizawl-Zokhawthar route has become the new corridor for smuggling of wildlife products from the Northeast to Myanmar.
“Intelligence inputs suggest that owing to the increase in recovery of wildlife products by security forces in Manipur, the smugglers are now using the Silchar-Aizawl-Zok-hawthar route instead of the usual Imphal-Moreh-Tam-u route to smuggle wildlife ite-ms into Myanmar,” a source in Wildlife Crime Control Bureau said.
Zokhawthar is a small town in Champhai district of western Mizoram on the Indo-Myanmar border.
The source said the issue came up for discussion at an inter-agency coordination me-eting organised by the bureau in Shillong on September 14 to combat organised wildlife cri-me in the Northeast.
According to him, animal parts like pangolin scales, tiger bones and otter skins find their way to China and Vietnam from Myanmar, whe-re they are used for making tr-aditional Chinese medicines.
The smugglers are believed to have chosen the Zokhawthar route because vigil along the international border is relatively less compared to other parts in the region, as Mizoram is considered a peaceful state.
He said security agencies have decided to step up vigil along the route to prevent wildlife smuggling.
The meeting, which was chaired by additional director of the wildlife crime control bureau, S.B. Negi, was attended by officials of the police and forest departments, besides customs, BSF, Assam Rifles and Indo-Tibetan Border Police officials.
The regional deputy director of the bureau, Chaturbhuj Behera, and assistant director Abhijit Roy Chowdhury were also present at the meeting.
The meeting discussed ways to improve intelligence sharing and improve coordination among the security agencies to bust international wildlife smuggling rackets active in the region, which has a long and porous international border.
The source said apart from smuggling wildlife products of the Northeast, the region is also being used as a transit route to smuggle wildlife items from other parts of the country to China and Southeast Asia.
“For instance, red sander — a precious wood endemic to Andhra Pradesh — is being smuggled to China via the Northeast and Myanmar,” he said.
The wood, whose export is banned, is used to make musical instruments and traditional medicines in China and Japan.