Tura(Meghalaya), Sep 7: In a welcome move, the forest department of West and South West Garo Hills has issued closure notices to all operating illegal saw mills while stone quarries have been asked to produce validation of operation documents in the two districts.
The move of the DFO – Territorial comes in the wake of mushrooming of saw mills and quarries, all of which operate without any licenses, causing huge destruction to the local environment. Most of these illegal mills and quarries lie within the plain belts of both districts, with there being over 100 such illegal acts.
“We have issued a closure notice to all the illegal saw mills and quarries in the 2 districts. Many owners of these illegal mills and quarries have complied with the order given by us though some still continue to operate. We will be taking action against them, shortly,” confirmed DFO – Territorial in charge, Rupanker Marak.
The state forest department, despite being short of manpower, has been making continued efforts to stop the twin menace of illegal saw mills and extraction of stones.
Last month, action was carried out by the forest department in NGH after complaints of illegal sawmills being operated. Machineries and timber were seized during the raids.
In the plain belt, locals informed that there were more than 100 saw mills across the region – from Tikrikilla in WGH up to Mahendraganj, close to the international in SWGH.
Illegal stone quarrying has been another headache for the department, with many influential locals setting these units up and refusing to comply with the orders by the state. These quarries operate without valid documents – something that has been picked on by the forest department.
As per records, 27 stone quarries have been granted permission for operation across the two districts though in reality the number of such quarries is close to 100. These quarries dot the entire two districts, starting from Tikrikilla, Phulbari, Chibinang, Rajabala among other villages and towns.
After notices were sent to the illegal quarries and saw mills, the forest departments have been on rounds across the major routes in the two districts to check the legality of the stones being carried as well as the movement of timber.
“The crackdown will happen soon. We just want to tell these illegal mine owners to seize operations and come through legally. These random acts of environmental destruction have to stop,” added the DFO in-charge.