State protecting timber thieves: Matrika Yadav

Banke, June 17:

Minister of Forest and Soil Conservation Matrika Yadav said today that deforestation in the country is going unabated because the state ‘has been protecting timber smugglers.’

Accusing the state of protecting timber smugglers, Yadav, who is also a central member of the CPN (Maoist), said: “Everyone, from ranger, district forest officer (DFO) to the director-general (DG), are protecting the smugglers. Nepal has turned into a hub for smugglers.”

Inaugurating the third convention of the Nepal Forest Guards in Nepalgunj today, he termed the guards a “toothless tiger at the hands of smugglers”.

The CDOs and the police were asked to seize red sandalwood, but the request went in vain. “I myself have to run after trucks and godowns. I wonder whether I am a minister,” Yadav said.

“Although forest guard is the ultimate authority to check deforestation, he is powerless. Detained smugglers were released on the orders of the DFOs and the ministers,” Yadav said.

Urging forest guards, rangers and DFOs to work honestly, he said: “Be content with whatever you people earned in the past.”