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Conservator of Forest dismisses allegations of illegal timber business in Digboi

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 Jun 2017 12:00 AM GMT

From our Correspondent

DIGBOI, June 20: Following the recent allegations of some of the ture-based local NGOs centering round illegal timber business along Digboi Duliajan Road in Borjan area and subsequent complaints to the State Forest Minister who immediately ordered an inquiry to ascertain the exact ture of the alleged act, the Jorhat based Conservator of Forest, Eastern Assam, M Thungmu visited the site on Sunday and conducted an investigation to this effect in the presence of the forest staffs and officials and locals of the Borjan area.

Talking to The Sentinel, M Thungmu categorically repudiated the allegations and remarked, “I have assessed and closely alyzed the facts on my field visit taking into account all the possible aspects in the light of the raised allegations and news reports and found that the logs which were lying along the roadside were the wind-uprooted trees of different species and varied girths and under-girths were being dragged officially in a nearby depot with records dully maintained by the department concerned.”

Thungmu, who also recorded the statements of the local people who have been keeping a vigilant eye on the resources, said that around 107 tress of different sizes were found uprooted in the Borjan area of Upper Dehing Reserve Forest West Block (UDRF) while six were uprooted in Golai area in the Eastern Block of UDRF and five in the Rajaali area of the Eastern Block all falling under Digboi forest range.

Defending the allegation, he assured that the department concerned was simply following the procedures involving the enumeration, marking, operation (piecing), passing, including dragging and transporting the resources in a nearby depot which had been mistaken by the passersby, suspecting it to be an illegal act of lumbering by the forest officials in nexus with the miscreants. However, when contacted from the site, no one came forward to ascertain their opinion with valid evidence to prove their points.

Meanwhile, when asked about the employment of an elephant with its calf in the dragging process, an official source added that the registered elephant was hired from Pengaree for keeping aside the logs only without causing any kind of cruelty to it. According to the forest officials, due to lengthy and cumbersome official procedure of getting fund for the immediate task to be accomplished ahead, the department had to employ the elephant on hired basis. According to them, the logs were being transported and collected in central log depot while huge logs were still in the site being taken care of the people of Borjan area.

However, still firm on their stand, the turalists and the members of the NGOs were of the opinion that felling of tress was simultaneously being carried out mercilessly across the division and the organizations will to this effect work relentlessly till the points are proved and establish with evidence the real ghastly act of destroying ture and its resources.

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