DIGBOI: The unabated and merciless felling of trees and continuous seizure of the smuggled forest resources, either by forest department or police team, have categorically exhibited the extent of deforestation in Tarani Reserve Forest under Pengaree range of Doomdoma division and smuggling of forest resources to the mills in and around the Assam-Arunachal border area in Tinsukia district.
Following the arrest of three employed timber smugglers from Tarnai reserve forest on Tuesday night by Pengaree forest team, Bordumsa Police also caught hold of a suspected vehicle on Wednesday evening and seized three pieces of huge Hollong logs worth around Rs. 60,000. One person in the loaded vehicle, identified as Parthojit Bora (21) of Makum Tarajan village, was also arrested by the police team when the vehicle along with the consignment was heading towards Borhollong area via Chikrajan rural roads.
“The team of Bordumsa Police, acting on a tip-off, started chasing the speeding vehicle and intercepted it in the Borhollong area, thus recovering the stumps of the trees, besides arresting the person in the vehicle,” said Asif Ahmed, Additional Superintendent of Police, Tinsukia.
Meanwhile, Hiren Kumar Medhok, the Pengaree ranger, said that the accused was prosecuted u/s 24, 25, 40, 41 and 49 of Forest Act and produced on Thursday morning before the SDJM, Margherita.
A highly-placed official at the Conservator Office in Jorhat, when contacted about the failure of the department to check the menace of timber smuggling in Tinsukia district, including Digboi and under Doomdoma Division, said that a good number of rangers were retiring this year, few were physically feeble and bed-ridden while another chunk, including the staff, were aged. The official, however, added that recruitment of around 1,000 forest staff and officials was in the pipeline.