School kids turned smugglers

Published: Monday 31 March 2003

Timber smugglers in Orissa are catching them young. They have targeted schoolchildren from economically weaker sections to carry out their dubious activities. The Nayagarh district police recently caught two class viii students felling trees in the Sulia forest.

The arrested students, Pandu Nayak and Dilip Nayak, admitted to killing wild animals too in the forest. The investigation disclosed that schoolchildren are trained to use saws and axes before being sent into the forest to cut trees. Some confess to have even received arms training.

The use of children for timber smuggling has shocked hundreds of volunteers who have been protecting forests. They say that the ploy is ingenious as school kids are not likely to attract the suspicion of the forest protection committees.

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