Amidst allegations of trading meats of wild animals and birds at Puthimari weekly market near Kalaigaon of Udalguri district and recent airing of news by a section of electronic media, a team of forest officials from the Dhansiri Forest Division and district administration raided the weekly market last Saturday.
Dhansiri Forest Division, DFO M.K. Sarma, Bornadi Wildlife Sanctuary Ranger, Satya Boro, and Magistrate Karpun Patir raided the market but found no evidence to substantiate news reports. Sources informed that the traders dealing in such animals were usually tipped off before a raid. Reportedly the weekly market openly trades in meat and body parts of civet cat, besides bull frogs, squirrels, monitor lizards, adjutant storks, golden monitor lizards, birds and other wild animals.
An awareness programme was also organized in a nearby village citing the importance of protecting wildlife. The villagers were also apprised of the punishments under Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Government officials confirmed that they would continue to create awareness among the people to protect and preserve flora and fauna of the state. They would erect hoardings, distribute leaflets to further awareness.
"We seek the support and cooperation from all sections of people to protect our flora and fauna," an official said.
The forest officials also shouldered the responsibility on market “mahaldars” that no such trading on wild animal parts should take place in the future else the market authorities would be liable of offence under law.
A trader on condition of anonymity informed that they were unaware of the state government's restriction and ban on killing animals but it was their business and tradition. He further added that if such restrictions were imposed they are willing to give up the profession.