Rautahat, February 6
The ongoing political unrest facing the country has led to rampant smuggling of timber in Rautahat of late.
Saal trees are felled and smuggled from Dhansar Area Forest Office, Bholentar, due to negligence on the part of the concerned authority. Locals said a huge number of saal tress were chopped and supplied from the forest area on Wednesday. They said the smugglers had smuggled timber openly from under the noses of forest office staffers.
Earlier, a clash between the forest guards and smugglers had led to firing from both the sides in Dhansar Forest Area. Local folks attributed increased smuggling of saal timber to the lack of monitoring from the concerned authority.
Meanwhile, Assistant Forest Officer Shubha Narayan Yadav of District Forest Office, Rautahat, said timber smuggling had increased as they did not have enough staff to cover the whole forest area.
“While the forest guards try to cover one part of the area, smugglers sneak away with timbers from the other part,” he said. He added that they were unable to curb smuggling of timber due to lack of cooperation from the local administration.
District Forest Officer Shree Bhagawan Prasad Gupta said the smugglers might have used the locals to cut down the trees at Sigaul, Bara on Wednesday.
He said forest officials were able to save a few trees from the smugglers as forest guards had been deployed immediately after they learned about the illegal activity.
He said timber smuggling had increased as the locals residing in Bholentar and Sigaul for the past 25 years were involved in the illegal activity.
A version of this article appears in print on February 07, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.