Shimla: Police seized two trucks laden with illicit sandalwood just when they were about to cross the Sino-India border, about 3 km before the Kourik post on the Hindustan-Tibet highway-22, in the wee hours today.
Cops from Kaza police station nabbed the truck drivers, who were identified as Raju and Vijay. Each truck was carrying at least 70 quintal of bark and the vehicles used in the crime belonged to Mandi and Pooh areas of Himachal Pradesh. Sources said unearthing of this international trafficking of sandalwood at such a sensitive place points at a well knit international racket as taking vehicles on the route without involvement of ITBP and Indian Armed personal is not possible. Both the trucks had managed to cross the armed posts as they were about to enter the no man’s land near Kourik.
Kourik is the last point on the 375-km-long Hindustan-Tibet highway, and the place is always manned by Indian forces. The route has been used for international trade since ancient times, but after the Indo-Sino war there has been very meagre trade activity on the road.
Sandalwood is prominently grown in Andhra Pradesh in India, besides some forests also existing in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. The wood is used massively in Tibet region in medicines and rituals.