'HCC EXTRACTS 1.5 TONS OF FIREWOOD'

Mian Altaf orders probe, 2 workers booked

SUHAIL AJMAL

Mantrigam (Bandipora), Nov 30: Forest Minister Mian Altaf has ordered an inquiry into the extraction of firewood from the lush green forest at Chandaji here in north Kashmir allegedly by Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), executing 330 Megawatt Kishen Ganaga Hydro Electric Power Project in this north Kashmir district. 
Sources told Greater Kashmir about 1.5 tons of firewood were recovered by the forest officials from the from various operational sites of Kishen Ganga Hydro Electric Power project in Mantrigam area, after they got inputs of illegal extraction from Chandji forests by the HCC workers.
The illegally extracted firewood was dumped at various operational sites like Power House, Casting Yard and TMB site, said Forest officials.
An inquiry committee headed by Deputy Director Forest Protection visited the spots and assessed the quantity of the illegally extracted timber, sources said. “HCC workers had cut green trees to extract the firewood,” they added.
 “The report has been sent to the Forest Ministry beside criminal action has been initiated against the accused HCC workers against whom FIR was lodged,” officials added.
LOCALS SPEAK
Meanwhile, locals in the area are up in arms against the police and civil administration who according to them are shielding the accused workers. “It is unfortunate that workers of reputed company are violating the law in broad day light while authorities are acting as mute spectators” said locals.
 “FIR has been lodged against the two workers but police has not taken any action yet,” they added.
HCC SPEAKS
When contacted, HCC officers expressed ignorance about the matter. “We are unaware about the illegal extraction of timber. We had approached Forest Department with a requisition for 10 Tonnes of firewood but nothing has happened till date,” they added.  
FOREST DEPARTMENT SAYS
Talking to Greater Kashmir Divisional Forest Officer Muhammad Mabool Rather said that illegal
firewood was sized from the project site after it was reported that few local HCC workers have extracted it from prohibited forest.
He said that FIR (No. 213/2012 U/S 379 RPC6/FA) has been lodged against Nazir Ahmed Najar and Riyaz Ahmed Kumar who had misguided the company on the pretext of fire wood extraction.
“Investigation is on and it has been found that that it is the handiwork of local HCC workers who have illegally extracted firewood from the forests,” he added.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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