Timber smugglers on prowl in Bandipore
‘Chop 10-40 green trees everyday’
Bandipora, Aug 12: Residents of Ajas, Mulkhiuhama and other adjoining areas in this north Kashmir district on Friday alleged that officials of the Forest Department have failed to check the timber smuggling and wanton loot of forests in the area.
“Forest areas in Tangbhutoo, Bazipora, Rangnar, Krushu of Ajas Mulkhuihama, CheckPor and Kudara of Ajas Range have lost thousands of green trees in the past few years as smuggling is unabated in the area,” locals told Greater Kashmir.
“Such massive destruction of forests cannot take place without the approval of the officials of the Forest and Wildlife departments,” locals alleged.
They said that timber smugglers cut precious trees during day time in Khuihama and Ajas range. “Officials mislead Forest Minster, Principal Chief and Chief Conservator of Forest whenever the wanton loot of forest is highlighted by media.”
“The precious trees in the Ajas area and Kudara Mulkhuihama area are being chopped by the smugglers at their own will,” locals said.
“Till a few years ago the forest officials used to act promptly when the villagers would inform them about the activities of smugglers, but now they don’t care,” said local in Kudara.
The residents said that smugglers chop nearly 10-40 green trees in Ajas Tangbuthoo and Krishu everyday.
They alleged the concerned officials deliberately avoid patrolling the area giving free hand to smugglers.
Pertinently, the divisional forest officer last month suspended a forester and three forest guards involved in smuggling, after media and press exposed the damage worth crores in Kudara and Paswalpati area of Ajas Range.
“Every day in the morning and evening time the smugglers can be seen ferrying green logs in trucks, and move safely to other parts of sate besides crossing forest check post at Ajas Range office.”
Hundreds of unending stumps of trees lie scattered over a vast land of forests in Ajas and Tangbhutoo.
The devastation of forests in these ranges is visible as one enters the forest at Ajas, Mulkhuhaima, Kudara,Tangbotuu and Krushu.
Pointing towards the partially burnt stump, a villager of Bazipora said, “Forest employees deliberately set fire these remnants to conceal their misdeeds.”
Talking to Greater Kashmir Conservator Forests Nissar Darzi said, “I will look into the matter. If anything wrong is going on it will be taken care off.”
However, he was quick to add that Ajas area is manned by the officials of Wildlife department.
Regarding the damage in Ajas area, Wildlife Warden Hafeezullah Sadeeqe told Greater Kashmir that the Checking party has been sent to the area for the on spot verification, whosoever would be found responsible will be punished.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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