Rampant tree felling continues in Assam, Rs 32,160 crore worth revenue lost in last 10 years, alleges Human Rights & Anti-Corruption Forum
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 27: Alleging a multi-crore scam in the Forest department, the Human Rights & Anti-Corruption Forum today said Assam lost revenues worth Rs 32,160 crore and the other six Northeastern states lost around Rs 2.19 lakh crore during the last ten years only in the environment and forest sector.
Addressing a press conference here, the organizations’ general secretary Amitabh Sharma said despite the Supreme Court’s ban on tree felling in 1996, illegal timber business continues to thrive in the State and the region.
“In Guwahati alone, there are around 450-500 timber shops and each shop evades an amount of Rs 30,000 per month. In entire Assam, there are around 1,000 timber shops, and through malpractices, they evade up to Rs 15,000 per month,” Sharma said.
According to the organization, every day around 100 trucks with timber worth Rs 6 lakh move out of Assam, while illegal timber business is also going on in six other NE states.
The organization also alleged malpractices in the State Forest department, and said transfers in the department are done without departmental approval.
Alleging a massive tax evasion of around Rs 21,900 crore by the timber mafia, Sharma alleged it also funds Maoist and jihadi terror in NE India.
The organization demanded a high-level Central probe into the scam, besides property audit of timber traders and Forest officials in the State.