GUWAHATI: Several syndicates in the Forest Sector in Assam — believed to be one of the biggest of its kind after those operating in the Coal sector — is allegedly running here — the capital city of Assam.
Sources informed that this syndicate is operating with the help of a section of Police and Forest officials.
The syndicate operators have been forcing each trucker carrying timber from Byrnihat (in Meghalaya) to Guwahati via Jorabat to dish out anything ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000 per trip for the passage of these timber-loaded trucks to the 'Gateway of the Northeast'.
Mentionably, the new government had stopped the overloading in all trucks. It did lead to but just a temporary halt in the operation of these timber syndicates at the check gates run by the Transport Department. Moreover, the digitization of 'Transit Challan' also stopped the unauthorized collection of illegal money from such truckers by the Forest Department officials.
However, another syndicate still flourishes in the city. This syndicate — running under a section of corrupt Forest officials — have reportedly forced the timber-carrying truckers to pay any amount from Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000 per truck from Byrnihat to different places of lower Assam via Jorabat in the city.
This incident has come to the light after a section of harassed truckers addressed a press conference here. They alleged that they have been forced by a syndicate at Dispur to pay for running their trucks via Guwahati.
The audio recording of the prime accused in the timber syndicate — Rajdeep Das, — asking a trucker to pay the syndicate money, went viral in social media last week.
On the other hand, a person identified as Dhan Das complained to the Commissioner of Guwahati Police. Dhan Das alleged that five persons — Rajdeep Das (Beltola), Bhimu Sarma (Khanapara), Narayan Sarma, Raj Chetri, and Pranab Sarma (Ganeshguri) were involved in allowing free passage to the timber-loaded trucks without any transit pass or challan.
As the complainant alleged, the syndicate collects its illegal revenue from 30 trucks that enter the city through the GS (Guwahati-Shillong) Road to various destinations in lower and upper Assam.
Das also named a section of Forest and Police officials for being allegedly involved in this syndicate.
Jorabat — which has also an active Forest camp — along the National Highway-37 to look after such illegalities has also been a transit route to smuggle valuable logs and timbers from Meghalaya, added a source.
During the media meet, the truckers have moved the senior Police officials of Assam. They have also sought justice and immediate steps for tackling the syndicate in Assam.