Rautahat, April 15
It has come to the light that timber smuggling from Rautahat forests has become rampant as the forest employees collude with timber smugglers.
A team of security personnel deployed for patrolling the area took local Ram Pukar Sah under control from Judibela of Chandrapur Municiplaity-2 while he was ferrying a tractor loaded with timber to a brick kiln for sale a fortnight ago. A source, however, claimed that Ranger Lekhnath Bhandari of Judibela freed Sah after taking bribe.
The team had recovered firewood and six sets of round timbers from the tractor. Ranger Bhandari had asked Sah to hide the timber and details of the firewood alone were collected and a case was filed accordingly. Forest employees said that Bhandari was dragged into controversy after tractor and Sah were released.
According to the Forest Act, if a vehicle ferrying the timber product worth over Rs 10,000 is found, it should be seized.
The Forest Office can look into the case if the vehicle is carrying the timber worth less than Rs 5,000. Taking advantage of this provision, Bhandari showed firewood alone on the paper and freed Sah and the tractor, a source claimed.
A version of this article appears in print on April 16, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.