Timber smuggling rampant

Rautahat, January 21

Timber smuggling has increased after armed forest guards could not perform their duty due to thick fog in national forest areas of Rautahat district of late.

Wood smugglers have become more active in the district as the patrol team could not reach duty station owing to thick fog since a month. Locals said smugglers were supplying valuable timber from Rangapur, Junglesahiya, Dhansar, Bholentar, Brindatar, Hilekhola, Gaindatar and Baleri, among other forest areas of Rautahat, Sarlahi and Bara, among other southern parts of Rautahat. They added that smugglers entered to the forest with saws, axes and other domestic weapons when thick fog covered the area. Villagers suspect that forest office staffers might have been involved in smuggling as the authorities concerned didn’t pay any heed although they were frequently informed about the smugglers.

Meanwhile, acting on information provided by locals, a police team deployed from Armed Police Base Camp, Bijayapur, seized a huge quantity of timber from BP Pushpalal Community Forest today. The police team seized timber loaded in a bullock cart.

SP Krishna Dhakal informed that the police team seized the illegal timber from the community forest early this morning. The smugglers fled the scene when the police team arrived. Police said the seized timber had been sent to Chocha Forest Sector.

Similarly, a joint patrol team deployed from APF and District Forest Office seized illegal sal timber from Katahariya Municipality’s Junglesaiya forest on Friday.

Chief Officer Binod Singh of District Forest Office, Chandrapur, said timber smuggling had increased after staffers could not carry out their duty due to the cold. He added that action would be taken against those found guilty.