By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 12: Timber smugglers are having a field day at Lankeshawr hills under Jalukbari reserved forest as valuable teak trees are wantonly felled there.
The Jalukbari reserve forest that covers an area of 97.7 hectares is under Guwahati Forest Range in East Kamrup Forest Division. Significantly, the site where the trees are felled before smuggling is barely 100 metres away from Khamukh Forest Beat office which is located at the foothill. Importantly, the hill houses the famous Lankeswar Temple being thronged by hundreds of devotees daily.
The locals alleged that such incidents of tree smuggling regularly occur at the forest landscape. Local wondered as to how smuggling activities can go if adequate protection is put in place. They suspect a nexus between a section of unscrupulous forest officials with the smugglers.
As far as the strength of forest personnel is concerned, the beat office is packed with staff but little is done for the protection of the forest landscape. The hilly landscape gives shelter to a number of wild creatures, including leopard, primate etc., species.
A group of devotees, who visited to the shrine, says that the protection and conservation of hill forest in the city is imperative not only to arrest landslide but also for keeping habitats of wildlife intact.
Locals also alleged that the forest staff are seen harassing the sand-laden trucks during night instead of patrolling in the forested track. They demanded an inquiry into the incident of tree felling.