LAHAN: Timber smuggling is going on with the connivance of forest officials in Siraha district, according to locals.
Green felling continues to thrive in the dense forests of eastern Siraha bordering Udayapur district. Employees in ranger posts under the District Forest Office, Siraha, have allegedly given a free hand to the timber smugglers to plunder the green gold.
Felling is rampant at Dharmapur, Dhangadi, Mirchaya and Bandipur. Smugglers bring Sakhu logs from these areas. Sakhu, a robust tree has high market value and is good for house construction. Custodians of the green treasure watch the smuggling of timber mutely, locals complained.
Devan Mukhiya of Chandrodayapur-5 said smugglers work in hand-in-glove with forest officials. “They give big money to ranger level staffers. Some persons involved in timber smuggling also publicly accept that they “bribe” forest employees. “We pay money on a monthly basis to some employees of the District Forest Office and other offices under it,” said Bhuttai Sadai of Devipur-5. A forest official on condition of anonymity said that efforts to control timber smuggling proved futile, as “their boss did not take any action”.
Efforts to contact Acting District Forest Officer Ramananda Prasad Kurmi went in vain.