JAIGAON (INDO-BHUTAN BORDER):Thousands of crores of rupees worth red sanders from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are allegedly being smuggled through this town by the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal to China via Bhutan.
The prime accused, according to a note by the Ministry of Home Affairs sent to Nabanna, the State secretariat in Kolkata, is Wilson Champramari, TMC MLA from Kalchini in Alipurduar district. However, no action has been taken against him as he allegedly pays a huge sum each month to a young TMC Lok Sabha MP who calls the shots in the party.
In April, a special team of AP police, which deals specifically with red sanders smuggling, raided several places in Alipurduar district and from Hashimara arrested Soundara Rajan, a resident of Tamil Nadu. He’s a red sanders smuggler. On the same day, one of his aides in Tamil Nadu, Saravanan, was arrested from the jungles bordering Karnataka where red sanders are available in plenty.
Inquiries in Alipurduar district revealed that Wilson allegedly owns at least 15 warehouses, where the red sanders which are brought in trucks from South India, are stored. They are then laden in trucks and escorted by armed men on motorcycles to cross over to Phuentsholling in Bhutan through this town. From there the trucks reach Ha in Bhutan from where the red sanders are loaded on mules and sent to Tibet in China.
Sources said a tonne of red sanders costs Rs 10 crore in China and smugglers get a commission of Rs 15 lakh per tonne. The Chinese fancy red sanders furniture, though the wood is very brittle. It is also in great demand in the Chinese cosmetics industry.
In July, the 17th battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal, which guards the Bhutan and Nepal borders, raided Wilson’s village in West Santali and seized Rs 30 crore worth red sanders buried in the home of a man who claimed he had stored it at the behest of the MLA’s father Subin Champramari.