From our Correspondent
DIGBOI, September 22 : While the BJP-led Assam government has been claiming of taking the matters of illegal encroachment , deforestation, rehabilitation, and preservation of flora and kingdom seriously for common good, a group of commandos belonging to Assam Police and attached to Philobari Police Station were allegedly caught red-handed felling species of Hollong trees in Tarani Reserve Forest in Pengaree under Khatangpani Range of Doomdoma Division in Tinsukia district on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the local people, who called the forest officials concerned and media persons on the spot, alleged that the culprits were actively involved in carrying out the illegal trade of smuggling the precious logs, thus destroying the already depleted flora in the area, for the sake of making easy money by supplying the forest resources to illegally mushrooming mills in the division and nearby State of Aruchal Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the commandos who had allegedly threatened the media persons and the forest personnel on duty of dire consequences if the loaded logs were not allowed to be carried to their destition, also tried to stch the mobile handsets of the media persons where photos portraying the illegal and nefarious act of the government employee were stored.
However, taking advantage of the inefficiency of the forest department, the commandos escaped, leaving behind the loaded logs which were later brought under the custody of Pengaree Police Station.
Meanwhile, when contacted, the Tinsukia Superintendent of Police assured of proper investigation into the act and said that the erring persons would not be spared. On the other hand, the Tinsukia district unit of Assam Press Correspondent Union lamented the humiliation of the media persons by the commandos and demanded appropriate steps and discipliry action against the erring persons, who were yet to be prosecuted till the filing of this report.
A memorandum was also submitted to this effect by the union along with other local organizations on Thursday to the DFO Doomdooma. However, talking to The Sentinel, the DFO Doomdoma Division said that based on the report of the Ranger concerned, he would initiate legal steps to this effect.
Timber smuggling has been on the rise in the entire division and smugglers who allegedly have cordial rapport with the Rangers of the division, are carrying on the trade ubated. The inefficiency of the department has been the sole contributing factor behind this.
Taking cognizance of the entire incident and the rise of illegal timber trade and smuggling of other forest resources, the State Forest Minister should take the matter seriously before it is too late.