Two major private airlines have been found to be indulging in smuggling of endangered species in the northeastern part of India, wildlife investigators told Environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday.
A huge consignment of wildlife body parts, including that of tiger, was caught at Guwahati airport recently while on its way for a foreign destination through a passenger airlines.
“Both cargo and passenger airlines is being used,” said a senior official of National Wildlife Crime Bureau. But refused to divulge the names of the airlines.
Ramesh has now decided to ask Civil Aviation minister Vayalar Ravi to cancel the licences of the airlines found to be allowing smuggling of endangered species, especially from north-eastern India.
Amid concern over the menace of smuggling, Ramesh had called a meeting of various security agencies including the Intelligence Bureau, CBI, Delhi Police, CISF, Bureau of Civil Aviation and Security, ITBP, BSF, SSB, CBEC and the Enforcement Directorate.
“Take it up systematically,” Ramesh told the officials in the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), which comes under his Ministry.
A top WCCB official, who was critical of the Bureau of Civil Aviation and Security, complained that the department officials face difficulties to get passes at airports to check smuggling.
The official suggested that a system should be in place at the airport as “in the developed countries” in regard to presence of wildlife officials. “At the checking points, we are finding it difficult to ensure issuances of passes,” the official said.
Ramesh suggested to the officials to find out the areas where focus is needed and recommended a “system” to share actionable information among various agencies about smuggling taking place in one sanctuary.
New Delhi, January 21, 2011