Vandalisation of green gold goes unabated in Kupwara

Smugglers active in Kehmil Forest Division, authorities in slumber

SHAHID RAFIQ

Chowkibal  (Kupwara), Nov 25: Belying tall claims of the Government of going tough against the timber smugglers, massive felling of trees is going on unabated in various compartments of Kehmil Forest Division here.
 Sources said smugglers are undertaking massive felling of trees in dense forests of Fulmargi, Hachamargi, Tumina, Rangwar, Drangyari, Marsari, and Budhnumbal areas of Kehmil Forest Division.
 The affected areas fall under the Lolab-Bungus- Drangyari Development Authority. However, the locals accuse the officials of acting as mute spectators to the massive felling of trees.
 Sources said the Forest compartments from 7 to 12 in the Division have been badly affected as the timber smugglers daily fell 10 to 20 prized Deodar, Pine and Fir trees. This has drastically reduced the forest cover in the area making it vulnerable to soil erosion and floods.
 Pertinently, owing to its rich forest cover, the Government had brought the Drangyari and Chowkibal areas under the purview of Tourism Development Authority. However, the locals apprehend that if felling of trees goes on, the twin areas might turn into a desert.
 Locals said that though the concerned DFO is making efforts to check the felling of trees, but alleged the field staff has given a free hand of timber smugglers. 
 “Smugglers cut the trees in broad daylight. Taking advantage of road connectivity, they smuggle timber logs on tractors, tippers and other vehicles and sell them in other parts of the district” the locals said.
 They said during past few days, nearly 50 deodar trees were felled near Bompost, Gujjar Chak and upper reaches of Bela Post, Marsari and Rangwar. 
 “The felled trees are still lying at the spot and no effort has been made by the officials to seize them. In other areas, smugglers have placed the timber logs behind rocks and grass to avoid seizure. We many times apprised the concerned forest officials about the matter, however no action was taken against the smugglers. Instead, we were harassed by the smugglers. There is a nexus between the Forest officials and the smugglers,” the locals alleged
 When contacted, DFO Kehmil D.P Singh said patrolling has been intensified in the Division to prevent felling of trees.
 “I have sent teams to concerned areas for seizing timber. We are taking every measure to prevent damage to the forests in the Division,” the DFO said.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST




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