Officers of the Baikunthapur forest division seized an illegal consignment of timber from the outskirts of Jalpaiguri on Friday.
A team led by Belakoba range officer Sanjoy Dutta was patrolling NH27. They got a tip-off and soon spotted a container truck at Mohitnagar near Jalpaiguri early in the morning.
As they tried to intercept the truck, the driver tried to escape with the vehicle. “They chased the vehicle for around 5km along NH27 and could stop it at Dashdarga. It was taken to the forest beat office in Mantadari. As the container was opened, logs of Burmese teak worth Rs 50 lakh were found,” said a forester.
Niraj, the driver who is from Uttar Pradesh, was arrested as he failed to provide any document to prove that the timber is being transported in a legal manner. The timber, the foresters said, was loaded at Guwahati and was supposed to be smuggled into Delhi and Noida.
In the past few months, a number of illegal consignments of Burmese teak were seized in and around Siliguri. In most cases, the smugglers have used various items, ranging from bamboo to shredded glass pieces, to conceal the timber in trucks.
According to the data available with the department, from June 2022 till Friday, teak worth Rs 6.88 crore was seized from 22 vehicles. Also, 34 persons, who are suspected to be associated with timber smuggling have been arrested.