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Continued seizure of sal-laden trucks indicates rampant felling of trees in Kokrajhar

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 Jun 2015 12:00 AM GMT

From our Correspondent

KOKRAJHAR, June 20: Forest department on Saturday seized freshly cut sal logs from Jharbari Seleka Bazar area in Kokrajhar district. According to sources, the valuable sal logs were loaded in a truck bearing registration no AS-18A-0056 when it was seized.

The continued seizure of sal log laden trucks has indicated that the felling of valuable trees is going on rampant in the reserve forest. The role of the forest department has been put in question as there could be understanding between the smugglers and some section of department officials so that trucks and tractors can go deep inside reserve forest to ferry the illegal timber in a free and fair manner.

The seizure has once again exposed the poor state of the forest department in Kokrajhar where Haltugaon division of Kokrajhar district has the highest record of deforestation and illegal encroachment in forestland with 14,538.41 hectares of land being encroached upon under the very nose of the forest department. This is the third seizure of valuable sal logs in the district this month. Another truck carrying illegal sal logs worth lakhs of rupees was seized by a joint team of police and CRPF Cobra from Alangi area in Kokrajhar district on Saturday morning.

Once known for its evergreen tall trees and thick forest cover, the northern side of BTC district bordering Bhutan is fast depleting due to rampant felling of trees and unprecedented encroachment. More than 40,000 hectares of forestland in the BTC are illegally encroached and valuable tress like sal, gambari teak and segun have been illegally cut down despite forest department’s tall claim of protecting forest resources.

Conservationists have expressed deep concern over the deteriorating scerio of the forest resources and ubated felling of trees inside the reserve forests and sanctuaries. Most of the reserve forests are situated in strategic locations forming catchment area and important wildlife habitats. However, the problem of encroachment in forest areas is causing huge ecological damage, environment experts opined. They also questioned the forest department, more so the DFO of Haltugaon Division who seems ‘hardly concerned’ about the deforestation going on ubated in the division.

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