Illegal saw mills selling timber openly

Gaighat, September 8

It has been reported that more than a dozen saw mills are being operated illegally in Rauta and Panchwati VDCs in Udayapur.

The concerned authority has as not taken any action against the offenders who have been supplying Saal timber, a protected species.

Locals have complained that the timber was being smuggled in nexus with forest office staff.

Ganesh Sherpa, a local, said that the saw mills at the VDCs were selling timber illegally.

Former Chairman Keshab Pandey of Nepaltar-based Kusumbot Community Forest Consumers Committee said that the forest office staff and some members of community forests were involved in the illegal act.

“The staff pretend not to see anything though the timber is sawn in front of them,” he said. Pandey said that the locals had filed a case against the illegal saw mills. “But the forest office had done nothing,” he said.

A teacher Kedar Karki said that timber smuggling had increased noticeably after the community forests had banned timber from being taken out of conserved forests. “Trees are being felled everywhere in the community forest areas,” he added.

Meanwhile, when Assistant Forest Officer Raj Kumar Thakur of district forest office was contacted, he said that his office was unaware about the illegal saw mills.

“I have not been informed before about this,” he said, adding that action would be taken against the operators if they were operating the saw mills illegally.

He further added that action would also be taken against the forest staff if they were found involved in the said illegal acts.