Smuggling of timber goes unchecked in ParsaIllegal logging and smuggling of timber is on the rise as regular monitoring and patrolling inside forests areas in the district has been affected due to protests of Madhes-based political parties.
Illegal logging and smuggling of timber is on the rise as regular monitoring and patrolling inside forests areas in the district has been affected due to protests of Madhes-based political parties.
“Even locals who are now without any work due to protests are increasingly engaged in entering national forests and illegally supplying timber products,” said a local resident at Rangpurtandi seeking anonymity. “The current rate of timber smuggling gives a picture of 1979 referendum when forests in Tarai were cleared,” he said.
Timber smugglers, including some locals, are seen transporting logs to sawmills and furniture industries. Locals blame the concerned security and forest officials for failing to control such illegal activities in Rangpurtandi, Madhuban, Bahaluwai Khola in the district.
According to District Forest Officer Raj Bahadur Raut, timber smuggling in Rangpur and Manawa forest areas is on rise due to poor presence of officials due to deteriorating security situation in the district. “Security personnel are now acting defensively and regular monitoring and patrolling activities have been affected due to the volatile political situation,” he said, adding that the scenario has encouraged smugglers to move freely in the area.
Raut also said that smugglers and their supporters in some instances threatened forest officials and pelted stones at them for trying to enforce laws. “We are working in a very difficult situation risking our lives here,” he added. As reports on deforestation and illegal logging in various Tarai districts were disseminated through media, the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation recently directed its district-based officials to control illegal activities. Besides Parsa, other districts such as Siraha, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Mahottari and Bara have also reported rise in illegal logging.