From Our Kokrajhar Bureau
Kokrajhar (Assam), May 18: At a time when whole country is fighting against the COVID-19,timber mafias are busy smuggling valuable Sal trees by felling down the valuable trees in lower Assam’s Kokrajhar district.
On Monday morning,forest department staff and SSB jawans from Saralpara along the Indo-Bhutan border seized three tractors loaded with Sal timbers at Ultapani in Kokrajhar district .
The timber mafias taking advantage of the present situation are cutting the valuble Sal and other valuable trees deep inside the jungles of Haltugaon forest diviosn in lower Assam’s Kokrajhar district.
Getting inputs about timber smuggling by mafias at Ride No.9 & 10 under Ultapani range office, a joint operation team of Forest department and SSB jawans from Saralpara, conducted an opertaion against the timber mafias since late evening along the Indo-Bhutan border areas inside deep jungles of the Haltugaon division and able to detect three tractors loaded timbers of Sal.
The timers was later seized and brought to Ultapani forest range office.The timbers were supposed to be handed over to the timber smugglers Kokrajhar town via Saralbhanga river bank for selling in the black market .
The estimated cost of the seized timber is around over 5 lakhs in the market.
Range officer of Ultapani Range,Hemanta Mushahary said that the forest department has been taking firm measures against the timber smugglers but were not able to protect the deforestation .He further stated that large number of people from different states and districts of the state have illegally encroached inside the deep jungles under Haltugaon forest division.
He said that due to lack of sufficient forest staff and officials,they are unable to conduct operations in the deep forests .He said it was only today after a strict operation that three tractors and several pieces timbers were seized and brought to the forest office.
He has admitted that deforestation and massive timber smuggling are going on in the area due to lack of sufficient man power to protect the forest wealth.
“We have no sufficient man power to check illegal encroachment and deforestation in the forest areas,so timber smuggling is continuing unabated “, Mushahary added.
Meanwhile,environment and nature lovers have expressed their unhappiness over the massive timber smuggling along the Haltugaon forest division as well it’s adjoining areas.
They alleged that forest department and concerned authorities have failed to protect and check the deforestation
and urged the BTC administrator and Principal Secretary in BTC to take stern measures to check the encroachment and cutting down of valuable trees including Sal and other trees in the region.