Clamour raised over sander wood auction

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IMPHAL, Feb 22: Seized red sander wood in the custody of the Range Forest Office, Tengnoupal worth around Rs 90,75,000 has not been publicly auctioned till date despite a court direction.

This was stated by HK Vaiphei, chairman, Manipur Hill Area Bamboo Entrepreneur Association (MAHABEA) at a press conference held today at Manipur Press Club. He raised fear that the load of red sander wood may have already been sold off on the sly and replaced with ordinary wood.

The red sander wood was allegedly brought into the state from Andhra Pradesh with China as the probable destination. However, the 42 Assam Rifles posted at Pallel in Chandel district, intercepted two trucks smuggling the wood, weighing 3630 kgs in total, on April 4, 2011 and handed over the consignment of red sander wood to the Range Forest Officer, Tengnoupal. While taking up the matter, the CJM, Chandel, issued an order on April 6, 2011 directing the divisional forest officer, Tengnoupal to publicly auction the confiscated wood. Almost a year since, the court order as well as summons has not been complied with, he stated.

In the interest of over 100 entrepreneurs in the state who may require red sander wood for craft and production of furniture, HK Vaiphei petitioned the minister for forest and environment as well as the principal Chief Conservator of Forest to auction the wood at government rates but to no avail. He has demanded that a white paper on the case be furnished by the government. He has also warned that an FIR will be filed and take the matter to court.

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