MORANG: Only few trees remain in a thick forests of Letang. Barks of most of the trees have been peeled while others are burnt and they are then cut. Smugglers have been clearing the jungle using this new technique in Letang, Jante, Bhogateni, Partygaun areas of Morang district but the authorities have remained unconcerned.

A local Umesh Tuladhar informed that the smugglers peel the bark of the trees, set fire and then cut them within some days. According to him, some members of community forest users committee were also involved in such activities. Forest of Letang-3 is one among the worst hit.

The forest area has been decreasing rapidly as the locals have encroached upon the forest for various public purposes. Tuladhar said that nobody has paid attention to conserve the forest and the forest office was apathetic too.

Meanwhile, a local of Kebari Morang, Lalit Tamang informed that the forest of Bhaluwa of Kerabari was being cleared for road construction. Tamang lamented that nobody had worked to discourage the smugglers though it is on the rise in the area.

However, locals of Ghante, Dangi and Bhogateni of Kerabari areas are not much interested in preserving the forest. The smugglers have been smuggling the woods there in the broad day light. Arun Sharma an official at the District Forest Office Morang informed that they were planning to involve the Nepali Army in preserving the forest. He said, “I have written to the department for this.”