Khayar tree logging rife in Khotang VDCTimber smugglers, in collusion with community forest representatives, are cutting down Khayar trees (Acacia catechu) at Durchhim VDC in Khotang and exporting them outisid the district, according to villagers.
Timber smugglers, in collusion with community forest representatives, are cutting down Khayar trees (Acacia catechu) at Durchhim VDC in Khotang and exporting them outisid the district, according to villagers.
While the Khayar trees in Marse Sambhala Kudule Community Forest and Amka Sukase Community Forest are being felled at an alarming rate, the forest authority is clueless about the it, said a Durchhim local who did not wish to be identified.
He said the villagers were unable to stand up to the smugglers for fear of their own safety.
The people involved in the timber smuggling racket are protected by local politicians, he added.
In January, District Police Office had received a complaint of illegal logging of Khayar trees in Durchhim VDC.
Police Sub Inspector Rajindrabir Pandey said they were deployed to the VDC to look into the case but could not arrest anyone.
Ramananda Yadav, assistant forest officer of Halesi Ranger Post, said while the District Forest Office had issued felling permit for 2,390 cubic feet of Khayar trees from private land this year, he had no idea that the timber smugglers were targeting community forests.
District Forest Officer Lokraj Nepal vowed to investigate into the case and book the individuals if found guilty.
The extracts from Khayar tree are used for various purposes. It is one of the ingredients in paan, hence in high demand in the Tarai districts, where chewing paan is common.