Smugglers plunder Bangalore College’s sandalwood riches, one tree at a time


Sandalwood smugglers have been making hay at Bangalore College’s Jnanabharathi campus, chopping down and carting away bushes at will and making a mockery of “tight” safety and surveillance measures. 

If a senior syndicate member is to be believed, at least 25 sandalwood bushes have gone lacking from the campus within the final two months. Two of them had been stolen from the Biology Division premises on a single day in October. 

College authorities say there are helpless as a result of members of the general public have “unhindered” entry to the campus.

The problem got here up for dialogue on the syndicate assembly on Tuesday. 

The senior member informed DH later: “As per our info, the college has misplaced 25-30 sandalwood bushes within the final two months. After we raised this situation on the syndicate assembly, the vice-chancellor stated he’s helpless as a result of the general public has entry to the campus.” 

The college is estimated to have at least 6,000 sandalwood bushes, most of them within the biopark positioned behind the Environmental Science Division and adjoining to the Sports activities Authority of India (SAI). A number of dozen bushes are scattered elsewhere on the campus. 

Whereas most components of the campus are surveilled by cameras and watched by personal in addition to house guards, the biopark space has scant CCTV protection. “The biopark is surrounded by thick bushes, so it’s tough to instal CCTV cameras there,” a college official conceded. 

College authorities are sure that thieves use battery-operated, noiseless wood-cutting machines and don’t often cart away the components instantly. They let the bushes dry in order that they turn into mild and may be carried simply a couple of days later. The bushes are nearly 5 inches vast on the base. Every tree yields 4 to 6 ft of sandal. 

College authorities are additionally sure that insiders and ordinary offenders are concerned. That’s as a result of many of the thefts have occurred at night time.

It might be arduous for outsiders or rookies to enterprise into the campus after 9 pm when it’s out of bounds for the general public, they are saying.

Complaints made to the Jnanabharathi police haven’t helped. 

Regardless of the common thefts, the college authorities don’t have any information concerning the complete variety of sandalwood bushes which have gone lacking prior to now few years. 

A number of years in the past, the college had determined to process the Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Restricted with sustaining sandalwood bushes on the campus however the plan was by no means applied. 

The syndicate member quoted above stated that one other 300 sandalwood vegetation would develop into bushes within the subsequent three months. “We’re frightened about their security,” the member stated.

Jyothi Ok, Registrar (Administration), BU, stated: “First, we must be strict in giving the general public entry to the campus. We must always undertake a system like on the IISc the place guests coming into the campus should show their id card and enter their private particulars in a register.

“Second, we’re in talks with the Institute of Wooden Science and Know-how to instal chips in sandalwood bushes and quantity every of them. As soon as that’s achieved, the top of the division the place the bushes are positioned will get an alert if any try is made to chop down and cart away the bushes,” she stated.

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