Deforestation slur on forest officials

RAJBIRAJ: Officials at District Forest Office, Saptari, have been accused of involvement in deforestation in the district.

Locals said Satisal trees were felled in number greater than required for the resettlement of families whose houses were destroyed in fire, at the Phattepur forest. Forest Product Supply Committee on May 29 decided to allow the victimised families to avail themselves of wood from the local forest. Extra trees were felled on the direction of Ranger Dinesh Yadav.

''Yadav told us the extra trees were felled to make furniture for the forestry office,'' said Sunita Karki, a local. According to Jitendra Kumar Jha, a journalist, the FPSC had given permission to cut only dry and fallen trees.

District Forest Officer Imamuddhin Ansari claimed that the trees had been felled as per the decision of the committee, feigning ignorance about the report.

Stating that only Siris, Asana and Jamun trees were felled, Ranger Yadav said the

Saal wood had been recovered by their patrol team from the jungle on June 8. Teams from Area Police Office Kanchanpur and

Police Post Mahuli had found 153 logs of Saal and other trees from Bakdhuwa VDC

on June 20.

According to DFO Ansari, Assistant Forest Officer Ananda Shah had been suspended in connection with the charge, preventing him from destroying the evidence of the act.

According to sources, Shah has invested in a local furniture factory.