Sandalwood trees found missing from Gajapati district

After Kandhamal district, sandalwood smugglers seem to be spreading their network to neighbouring Gajapati in Odisha.

Two sandalwood trees on the premises of government offices at Mohana in the district were found missing on Monday, officials said.

“Patrolling in collaboration with the police has been intensified and efforts are on to nab the accused,” DFO (Paralakhemundi), Rohit Kumar Singh, said.

The trees were small and would not yield perfume or oil, he said. Last week, unidentified miscreants made away with logs of sandalwood from the premises of the District Court, District Collector’s residence and Ganesh temple at Phulbani in Kandhamal district.

“The smugglers might have shifted base to Gajapati as forest department and police intensified patrolling in Kandhamal following the incidents,” the DFO said.

They might have used battery-operated tools to minimise the noise of cutting, he added.

“We suspect a well-organised racket behind these incidents. Locals might be helping them identify the trees,” a forest officer said.

The DFO said steps have been taken to protect sandalwood trees on the premises of Narayanpur forest range office.

“There are around 20 trees and some of these are 50 years old. The area has been fenced in order to prevent unauthorised entry,” said range officer (Narayanpur) Prabhakar Nayak. - PTI