Pithoragarh August 24
A team of forest officers and the Dharchula police today seized a big haul of Satwa (perif polyphylla) from the banks of the Kali river at Ailagar, near Dharchula town, on the Nepal border. The herb consignment was to be smuggled to Nepal, forest office sources in Pithoragarh said. Satwa is a banned Himalayan herb which was used traditionally in the treatment of orthopaedic diseases and bronchitis by local medical practitioners.
“The cost of the seized 302 kg of Satwa, which is also called Meethi Bach by locals, is more than Rs 7.50 Lakh in the international market. It is selling at the rate of Rs 25,000 a kg in the international market,” said Muralidhar Bhatt, a forest officer who was part of the team
Bhatt said on a tip-off the team reached the spot at 3.30 am today. The police found that four bags full of Satwa were kept by the riverside while six bags were dumped there to be smuggled to Nepal. “Satwa, which is an endangered species, is banned in India while it is openly used for medical purposes in Nepal. That is why it is smuggled to Nepal from India,” said Ramesh Rajbar, police inspector, who led the team.
“The roots of Satwa plant are used to extract juice, which is used to treat orthopaedic diseases traditionally by tribal communities in this part of the Himalayas. These are found at nearly 6,000 feet in the foothills of the Himalayas,” said Aan Singh Rokaya, a Pithoragarh Zila Panchayat member from the Chaudans area of Dharchula.
“We have lodged a case under Article 26 of forest conservation law against unknown people as no one was caught when the herb was seized,”’ said Rokaya. 

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