Timber smuggling goes uncheckedSmugglers in collaboration with government officials and forest user committee members have started cutting down trees at Baijapur-based Ramjanaki Community Forest in the district, local stakeholders said.
Smugglers in collaboration with government officials and forest user committee members have started cutting down trees at Baijapur-based Ramjanaki Community Forest in the district, local stakeholders said.
Local residents said many trees in the forest area have already been cut down without permission from the authorities concerned.
User committee Chairman Narayan Chaudhary, Vice-chairperson Kritu Bhandari, Treasurer Bikram Chaudhary, guard Jugalal Chaudhary are accused of being involved in the incident. Forest users claimed that officials at Area Forest Office in Dhampur and timber contractor Bishnu Chaudhary are also working with the smugglers. Bishnu is also the chairman of Bishnu Sunkholi Community Forest.
Locals said they 55 sishau trees cut down and 588
cubic feet of timber loaded on a tractor in the forest area near Mahugaun.
Forest officials said they seized the timber and handed it over to locals. Ranger Chandra Nepali of the Dhampur Area Forest Office said they arrested Kritu Chaudhary on the charge of being involved in timber smuggling. “District Forest Office has been investigating into the matter,” he said.
Sources said some forest officials involved in the incident are on the run. Forest guards of the Area Forest Office, Torandev Giri and Khadkapani Dhital, have been suspended. Likewise, Assistant Forest Officer Shyam Mani Prasad Mandal has also been called to the DFO for investigation.
Forest users demanded strong action against smugglers and others involved in timber smuggling.