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Several Deodar trees axed, timber smuggling on the rise

Last Updated on November 24, 2021 at 5:58 pm

In Kathua district a large scale cover up operation has been launched by officials of forest department after the smugglers stepped up their activities and axed Dodar trees.  

There has been a massive felling of Deodar trees by some timber smugglers inflicting damage to the area.

As per reports, massive damage has been caused to the green gold by the timber mafia in Compartments Nos. 29,30 and 31 falling in Doulka area of Bani Forest Range of Basohli Forest Division where at least 60 large green Deodar and a few other trees have been axed.

The smugglers mercilessly used cutters to make these trees fall and this exercise took place about 20-25 days ago. Over 80% timber was extracted on the spot and also transported while some scants were still lying in the forest.

Since past two weeks matter was not reported but when it came to the notice of Tehsildar, he asked the concerned Range Officer at Bani, Narinder Verma about the issue.

A Revenue officer at Bani quoting local Panchayat members at Doulka and Dandi villages said that about 62 large Deodar trees have been felled in these three Compartments and more 1200 sleepers reported to have been extracted from the area. He further said that locals of the area are demanding investigation into the matter involving officers from Revenue, FPF and Crime Branch of Police.

Range Officer Bani started the investigation after matter came to the notice of Tehsildar and SHO Bani besides the CID wing of the concerned police. Two Incharge Foresters Mohd Shakeel and Mohd Asif from adjoining forest blocks were deputed for the inquiry. They projected the felling of just nearly two dozen trees in the area and seizure of about 240 Deodar sleepers from the site, just to down play the damages, reportedly.

Meanwhile, another massive felling of about 35-40 Deodar trees in Koti Chandyar area was reported.

Conservator of Forests, East Circle, Jammu, B Mohan Das said that he was not fully aware of both the incidents in Bani Range but has received preliminary report from the DFO Basohli regarding felling of some green trees in Compt Nos. 29, 30 and 31. He said that a detailed inquiry in both Doulka and Koti-Chandyar incidents where major damage has been reported.