29 kg halmaddi seized, two held

The forest department officials on Sunday night seized 29 kg of halmaddi, a resin material extracted from Ailanthus tree species, and arrested two persons for the illegal transport of the minor forest produce.

A forest department official on Monday said the accused, Azhar T S (25) and Parvez (23), were both businessmen and resided in Belthangady and Guruvayanakere respectively. The duo were arrested when they were transporting the Halmaddi through the Kudremukh National Park in a van.

According to the official, even though the trees are grown on private land around the forest areas, the extraction of halmaddi is prohibited without prior permission. However, in 2013, the forest department had awarded tenders for extraction of halmaddi.

Though the duo claimed that they had collected the produce from a private land, they were unable to produce documents for the same. They were arrested for illegally transporting minor forest produce and have been booked under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The sheer quantity of the halmaddi surprised the officers, as each tree can generate limited quantities at a time. The accused were carrying 29 kg of it, which means they were extracting halmaddi for the last six months, said the official.

The halmaddi is used as a gum agent in making incense sticks and dhup.

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