Smuggling in timber goes on unabated

Rajbiraj, September 25:

Participants at an interaction organised here recently by Federation of Community Forest Users’, Nepal (FCFUN) claimed that forest officials

were involved in timber theft and smuggling from the forests in Saptari district. Laxmi Kanta Chaudhari of Forest Users’ Group under Kathauna Range Post alleged that even rangers of the forest are involved in timber theft and smuggling.

“Timber smugglers are smuggling timber across the border”, Mohammad Islam of Rupnagar Community Forest User Group said, adding, “No legal action is being taken against those arrested for timber smuggling and this proves the involvement of forest officials in timber theft.”

Gita Poudel, member of community forest under Gangajali Range Post, said timber is being smuggled in huge amounts from Phattepur transit point. Forest users accused the Forest Office of not paying attention to control timber smuggling. They also alleged that forest officials also work as timber contractors under fake names.

District forest officer Arun Kumar Sreevastav admitted that illegal timber smuggling is going on but said that timber smuggling cannot be controlled by his lone effort.

Chief district officer Mohan Prasad Sapkota and SP Subash Chandra Chaudhari said they would do their best to control timber theft. District secretary of the CPN-UML Diwakar Devkota, district chairman of Joint Left Front, Chitta Narayan Yadav and Mahananda Yadav of NC said that they would fight timber theft.