TANGLA: Illegal band sawmills have sprung up in various parts of Udalguri district, including in Bhergaon subdivisional areas like Khoirabari, Jhargaon, Dalangkhat, Mougaon and Dimakuchi under the nose of the Forest Department and district administration.
Sources said that nefarious circles had set up several such band sawmills in unholy nexus with a section of forest officials as these sawmills need very small space for their operation and are portable too. "Illegal timber milling and smuggling have been going on for long time, which have also made the licensed timber mill owners incur loss of revenue. Despite tip-offs to forest officials, they hardly act," said a proprietor of a licensed timber mill.
"Timber mafia have been using band sawmills in the region on a massive scale and that is next to impossible without the blessings of a section of forest department officials," said a noted wildlife activist of Udalguri on condition of anonymity. Wildlife activists of Udalguri have urged the Udalguri district administration to check and act against the illegal timber milling in the region. Pertinently, according to Assam Wood-based Industries (Establishment and Regulations) Rules, 2000, barring in permitted areas, one cannot set up or operate a band sawmill.