Thursday, 6 April 2017

Snake venom seizure reignites debate over international illegal trade regularly via Siliguri

It was to be sent to China or Western markets via Nepal or Bhutan.

SILIGURI: The seizure of a jar full of snake venom has triggered a fresh debate over Siliguri turning into a preferred conduit for international illegal trade of the commodity. 

The jar was seized at a small village, Hili, near the India-Bangladesh border. Border Security Force officials said the jar, filled with concentrated venom, was suspected to have reached Hili from France via Bangladesh. It was to be sent to China or Western markets via Nepal or Bhutan, they said. 

But nobody could be arrested, said BS Negi, commanding officer of BSF’s 199 Battalion. 

The largest similar haul in the region took place in June 2015. Forest officials had arrested three persons at the time and recovered six sealed glass jars labelled ‘Red Dragon Cobra’ of total nine pounds of crystallised or viscous venom, estimated to be worth about Rs 100 crore in international markets. 

According to senior forest officials, a similar consignment was seized in 2014 in Bangladesh near the border. Earlier, in December 2013, a consignment of about 500 ml raw venom was seized from Siliguri on its way to China. On many occasions, living venomous snakes have also been seized by the authorities from nearby places.