Tura(Meghalaya), Sep 2: In what will come through as sensational, a forester employed with the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) has been caught on camera managing an illegal saw mill that has been running in the village of Nayagaon under Phulbari PS in West Garo Hills (WGH).
The forester, identified as one Anworul Islam, had earlier also been questioned for his role in allegedly giving permission to a local road contractor for taking stones and sand gravel from the heritage site at Wadagokgre. His role in the case is still being investigated by the state forest department.
Meanwhile a local resident took videos of Anworul while he was supervising a saw mill that allegedly belongs to one Jamaludin Sheikh, the goanbura of Nayagoan. He can be seen standing within the mill overseeing the illegal saw mill operation which was in full swing. More than 50 logs of high value timber can also be seen in the background of the video prompting many to question how the GHADC forest department was allowing such criminals to be within their midst.
“This is absolutely wrong. It just shows the unholy nexus between smugglers and people from within the department. This nexus has been hinted at earlier by many concerned people and has now been brought to light through the act of the forester in question,” said a local resident on condition of anonymity.
As per forest sources, the investigation against the forester has brought to light many interesting facts which will be revealed after more proof has been procured.
Meanwhile, the DFO – Western Range, Sachin Gavade has promised to look into the immediate case with an inquiry being ordered, which will be conducted by the state forest team itself.
“We will inquire into the matter and if the person is involved, it does not augur well. We will act after getting facts on the case,” said the DFO.
Another resident, on the condition of anonymity, termed the collusion of the GHADC forester with the illegal timber trade as shameful.
“Action has to be taken against him if he is in anyway involved in the matter. He is supposed to protect our forest reserves and not destroy it. Departmental proceedings have to be initiated by the GHADC also and criminal action has to be taken,” he felt.