Illegal logging goes unchecked

- BIRENDRA KC, Arghakhanchi

Nov 23, 2014-

The District Forest Office (DFO) and the Presidential Chure Tarai Madhes Conservation Committee have failed to control timber smuggling from Chure forest that spreads across eight VDCs, including Simalpani, Siddhwara and Thada, in the district.

“Smugglers fell trees and set fire on stumps during the day and smuggle the logs towards Kapilvastu at night,” said a local resident of Simalpani. He said the DFO staffers might also be involved the illegal trade because of the fact that even those who are arrested manage to get off easily. Sources said timber is often smuggled via Dobato Pawar of Simalpani, Pattharkot and Bhaluwang in Dang.

Local residents said the smugglers threatened them of dire consequences if they reported to the authorities concerned. Even this scribe was threatened by local Shivalal Bhat, who was found sawing the timber illegally. Bhat, however, has already been arrested.

Meanwhile, forest officials on Monday arrested Suraj, Kisan and Roga Tharu from Pawara forest. Assistant District Forest Officer Madan Dhungana said the three men were arrested while they were trying to smuggle Sal timber. According to Forest Officer Krishna Prasad Dhakal, they received as many as 17 complaints and seized over 2,250 cubic feet of timber this year. Dhakal said they are always trying to nab smugglers.

Nepali Congress leader Basudev Acharya, meanwhile, said the trend of timber smuggling was on the rise after Dhakal was transferred to the district.

“Though the authorities concerned have arrested a few smugglers, they are unable to identify or arrest the mastermind behind them,” he said. CPN-UML leader Chet Narayan Acharya said the efforts to curb illegal logging in the district have been ineffective.

Published: 24-11-2014 09:10

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