Forest officials fight over seizure of illicit timber

FIR lodged in Handwara on application moved by FPF
Forest officials fight over seizure of illicit timber
Representational Pic

A tussle between employees of Forest Protection Force and Forest department over seizure of illicit timber in Handwara division of Kupwara district has turned ugly.

The employees of Forest Protection Force (FPF) held aprotest demonstration in their Handwara office and threatened indefinite striketill action is not initiated against the forest officials for allegedlymanhandling them.

The employees of forest department also held protests onTuesday against the FPF employees accusing them of taking bribe and notperforming their duty as per the rules.   

The incident came fore when employees of FPF on 30 Juneseized illicit timber loaded in a hand card near ITI Gonipora Handwara. "Thesmugglers taking advantage of darkness fled from the spot while observing themovement of FPF party," said an employee of FPF division Handwara.  

He said that in the morning forest field staff wasimmediately contacted for providing Form-25 to complete the formalities becauseof the transfer of the forester who was deputed to this unit for providingForm-25. "Due to the delay by the concerned forest staff in providing the form,instantly the employees contacted FPF control room Handwara," reads the reportof FPF.

"On Monday the concerned official was again contacted toprovide Form-25 for further proceedings. Instead of providing the form theconcerned beat officer namely Gulbaz Ahmad Shiekh forcibly entered in theoffice of FPF at 02:15 pm along with sufficient man power of forest rangeHandwara, assaulted, abused, attacked and manhandled the Assistant Director FPFNazir Ahmad Sheikh and other staff present there and interrupted the governmentofficial from working," the report further reads.

"After this incident they rushed to FPF control roomHandwara and snatched the seized stock and hand cart. SHO of police stationHandwara has been asked by the concerned Assistant Director of FPF forappropriate action and lodging of FIR against the erring officials," the reportreads. 

Two applications have been received by the police stationHandwara from both FPF and forest officials to lodge FIR. "The FIR has beenlodged against the forest officials on one application from FPF officials,"said a police officer in police station Handwara.

The protesting employees of FPF said that there should be astern action against the erring officials of forest department. "It is shamefulthat employees are being assaulted by forest employees. We will hit roads if actionagainst accused persons is not initiated," said the protesting employees whocontinued their strike on day second.

An independent enquiry with three member committee has beeninitiated into the matter to figure out the facts of the tussle. "The memberswill submit the report by Friday for appropriate action," said deputy directorFPF Handwara division Himayun Kabir.

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