Logging rampant in Rautahat forests

Rautahat, July 10

Negligence on the part of District Forest Office to take action against the tree fellers has resulted in rampant deforestation in Rautahat forest areas of late.

The DFO has more than 100 staffers to check logging and loss of forest products. Felling of saal trees, however, continues unabated. Timber smugglers have chopped down hundreds of saal trees near Area Forest Office, Dhansar, for the past one month. But, the forest office seems to be oblivious about this.

Bharat Acharya of Chandrapur accused that tree felling was rampant in nexus with staffers of the forest office.

“Timber smugglers enter the forest in broad daylight and cut down trees while forest office staffers stay inside the office pretending that nothing has happened,” Acharya said. He added that forest staffers reach the site after the trees are cut and taken away.

More than 20 saal trees were felled on a single day in Dhansar Area. A source at the forest office said staffers reached the site after the smugglers fled with the logs.

Four armed security guards, including Assistant Forest Officer Shuv Narayan Yadav and Ranger Prakash Adhikary are working in the Area Forest Office, Dhansar.

Locals, however, accuse Yadav and Adhikary of staying in Chandranigahapur instead of the Range Post. The smuggling of saal tress is rampant at various places, including Chandranigahapur, Ragpur, Gaindatar, Judibela and Brindaban.

Earlier, after various media covered reported on the rampant felling of trees in Rautahat, teams from Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, Regional Forest Directorate, Department of Forest and Ministry of Forest had come to the district to probe the matter.

Locals said negligence in taking action against the guilty had encouraged the smugglers to continue their activities.

Meanwhile, District Forest Officer of Rautahat, Bhagawan Gupta, said some trees were cut despite night patrolling. Gupta pledged to probe into the incident and punish the guilty.