Smuggling of medicinal plants rampant in Joida

Smuggling of medicinal plants rampant in Joida

In peril: Medicinal plants found in the forests of  Joida taluk in Uttara Kannada district. DH photos

Indian medicinal plants are in great demand in the international market. Varieties like the saptarangi plants (Salacia Reticulate) and guvada (Mappia Foetida) medicinal plants are abundantly available in the forests of Khanapur, Bheemgad, Talewadi, Aamgaon Holda regions of Belgaum district. Medicinal plants are found in abundance at Kuveshi, Mayare, Castle Rock and Anamod forest regions near Diggi in Joida taluk.

Spices like Dalchini Moggu (cinnamon buds) and its leaves are also smuggled out. The Forest officers had seized a lorry transporting guvada leaves about three months ago near Jagalpet. The department has to its credit a few such cases.  The medicine prepared from guvada leaves is useful in treating cancer and liver conditions and is in great demand in China and Japan, according to a forest officer.

Innocent people residing in the forests of the border areas are roped in for smuggling. Dearth of staff in the Forest department is a major setback in tackling illegal activities. Since most of the staff are aged around 50, they are unable to conduct surprise raids. A team of enthusiastic youth is required in the department to tackle the menace, says the forest officer.

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