'Smuggling bid foiled, rare Himalayan herb recovered in Bhadarwah'

Forest department sleuths Thursday claimed to have foiled a possible smuggling bid by recovering a rare medicinal herb worth Rs 5.5 lakh in Bhadarwah.

Giving details the official said, acting on a specific input, sleuths of territorial forest department launched an operation on inter-state Bhadarwah-Chamba road, connecting Doda with neighbouring Himachal Pradesh.

The sleuths recovered 650 kg of “Zakhm-e-hayat” (Bergenia ciliata) worth Rs 5.50 lakh which they found packed in 24 gunny bags, which were hidden in the bushes at Bhaderwahi Goth on interstate border, about 51 km from here, said DFO Bhadarwah, Chander Shekhar.

It is believed that the herb was concealed in the bushes so as to smuggle it to the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh.

On 30 June, 500 kg of the same herb was seized from the same area while it was being smuggled to Chamba town.

The rare herb is found at the altitude of 2,500 to 3,800 meter in Himalayan region. Its root is believed to be used to treat kidney stones and renal failure, vertigo and headache, the official said.

The plant is reportedly in high demand in China and Nepal.