With the arrest of one person, officials of Bhaderwah Forest Division (BDF) on Thursday claimed to have seized 28 kilograms of illegally harvested wild garlic (Allium ursinum) from Bhallessa area of Doda district.
The wild garlic, also known as wood garlic, with a market price of Rs 7 lakh, and believed to be a vulnerable species, was being smuggled to Punjab, said DFO Bhaderwah, Chander Shekhar.
According to reports, acting on a specific information developed by Range Officer (RO) Chirala, Shafqat Khakaan Malik, regarding the rare herb being smuggled, a joint party of Forest officials and police laid a Naka at Thathri, 60 km from here on Batote-Kishtwar National Highway.
“After receiving information about the consignment being smuggled to Amritsar, we informed SP Bhaderwah, Raj Singh Gouria and with the help of police, intercepted a passenger bus (JK02BM-3195) and seized 28 kilograms of wild garlic kept in 3 gunny bags,” said DFO Bhaderwah, Chander Shekhar.
“In this regard, a case under section 6 and 26 of Forest Act has been registered and the smuggler, who was carrying banned herb, identified as Arif Hussain son of Mohammad Sultan of Sanwara-Chilli of Gundoh, has been detained,” DFO informed.
“This is the major seizer,” claimed the DFO. “Bhaderwah Forest is known for having a good concentration of wood garlic. It was during a sight visit that the excessive harvesting was noticed.
We see it regularly, but of this magnitude, it is rather rare,” DFO said.
This was the third operation of its kind this month as earlier 500 kilograms and 650 kilograms of Zakhm-e-hayat (Bergenia Ciliata) worth Rs 12 lakh was recovered while being smuggled to Chamba town of Himachal Pradesh on July 1st and 11 this year.
Woodland garlic is a vulnerable species and offenders found guilty will have to pay heavy fines, said Shafat Khaqaan Malik, Range Officer Chirala.
Found in the altitude of 2500 to 3800 meter in Himalayan region, Allium ursinum, known as wild garlic, ramsons, buckrams, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear’s garlic, is a bulbous perennial flowering plant in the lily family Amaryllidaceae. It is a wild relative of onion, native to Europe and Asia, where it grows in moist woodland.