Pine trees vanishing from Doti forestsPine wood trees are disappearing from community forests in the district fast.
Pine wood trees are disappearing from community forests in the district fast.
Villagers allege that forest employees, contractors, representatives of forest users’ groups and timber smugglers are working in cahoots to smuggle pine wood from the district.
Around 11,000 cubic feet of pine wood was found at Malika Community Forest in Pipalkande, Siddhababa Community Forest in Thali and Masani Community Forest in Naku.
Mahabir Oli, a local of Laxminagar VDC, said smugglers have felled many trees in the last one month. The logs of pine trees are kept in Tudepani, Jagenakhola, Rakastal and Kope areas, he said.
Following the complaints of illegal logging in the district by locals, a team of journalists had inspected the areas.
Harka Bahadur Rawal, chairman of Malika Community Forest, said pine wood trees in the forest were logged after taking permission “from the Area Police Office over phone”.
Nandaram Rokamagar, who was found cutting pine trees in Siddhababa Community Forest, said he was following orders from the contractor and the chairman of the community forest.
In Masani Community Forest, smugglers have felled 6,000 cubic feet of pine wood trees.
The District Forest Office (DFO) had on April 2015 given permission to cut old trees in three community forests and that should have been done by May 28, 2016.
However, the smugglers are still cutting down trees.
Locals said the smugglers have been felling and smuggling trees for the last 10 months; however, the DFO is not paying attention to the rampant deforestation.
District Forest Officer Badri Kumar Karki, however, said that he came to know about the incident after the team of journalists went to villages to learn about illegal logging. “I have mobilised forest employees to collect details,” he said.
The DFO had not permitted tree logging in Doti for six years due to rampant smuggling of wood from the community forests. The DFO last fiscal year started allowing forest users’ to cut down trees after the trees started to dry up and decay in the forests.