Timber smuggling rampant in Rautahat

Rautahat, August 17:

Locals in the district say timber smuggling is on the rise in the district because government offices are doing nothing to curb the illegal practice.

The Rautahat district forest office recently seized 20 Sal logs. But locals say the office took the initiatives after they lodged a complaint at the office that tree felling was rampant in forests under different range posts of the district forest office, Chandranigahapur.

The timber smugglers managed to smuggle 30 logs of Sal from the forest in Dhansar.

“The forest officials themselves are helping timber smugglers,” a knowledgable source said.

Though officials at the district forest have restricted the use of chopping equipment and vehicles in the forest since July this year, the felling of trees has been going unabated.

Timber contractors have alleged that ranger of Dhansar range-post in Rautahat Shiva Ram Shah of seeking Rs 30,000 as bribe from them.

The district forest office was not aware of smugglers’ activities, Sanjay Karki, a local, alleged.

Smugglers have been found felling trees at night.

However, district forest officer Heera Lal Kushwaha said that he had no knowledge of tree felling in district forests.

He said a patrol team of the office was working to controlling timber smuggling.