Troops of the Border Security Force (BSF) on late Wednesday night intercepted nine bamboo rafts containing coal and seven containing timber destined for Bangladesh on through the Simsang river near the international boundary in Meghalaya. The smugglers, however, managed to escape.
Informing this, a spokesperson of the BSF’s Shillong Frontier headquarters said the coal and timber were collected from Meghalaya and was floated down the river that crosses the international boundary in South Garo Hills district in western Meghalaya. The 15,000 kgs of coal, 152 pieces of timber logs and 1100 pieces of bamboo (these constituting the rafts) were worth Rs 25 lakh, the BSF spokesperson said.
Unscrupulous elements have been exploring the river route to smuggle out coal extracted in Meghalaya after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had put a total ban on coal mining in Meghalaya following a complaint of severe environmental degradation caused due to it, the BSF said.
The BSF has intercepted and seized about 400 tons of coal, 2,225 cubic feet of wooden logs and more than 21,000 pieces of bamboo from being smuggled out of Meghalaya to Bangladesh during the last six months, the spokesperson said.