Assam, Arunachal forest depts to curb cross-border smuggling



Assam and Arunachal Pradesh forest departments have agreed to strengthen coordination and enhance intelligence and real-time information sharing efforts between the two states to curb the illegal cross-border movement of forest products and conserve forests.

Senior-most officials of the forest departments of the two states, in a first of its kind meeting at Itanagar on Thursday, expressed concern over the increasing cases of illegal cross-border movement of forest products and presented their forest protection issues of their respective border areas at length.

Assam and Arunachal Pradesh share a long inter-state boundary comprising some of the most valuable forest areas on both sides.

Sources said that both sides agreed to reinforce coordination between officials at the field level.

“The departments also decided to hold half-yearly coordination meetings of the principal chief conservators of forests (PCCFs) and quarterly meetings of the chief conservators of forests (CCFs) alternatively in both states, along with regular meetings at the division and range levels,” a statement said.

Sources said the initiative would build confidence and develop bonhomie between the officials of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh besides providing opportunities for sharing ideas and strategies which will go a long way in conservation of forest wealth in both states.

The Arunachal Pradesh Environment and Forest Department was led by R.K Singh, PCCF and principal secretary (environment and forest).

He was accompanied by the chief conservator of forests of all territorial circles, senior officers of the headquarters and divisional forest officers of Banderdewa, Khellong, Deomali, Namsai and Kanubari divisions which share borders with Assam.

The Assam forest department was led by A.M Singh, PCCF, (head of forest forces) with S.P Vashistha, additional PCCF, Upper Assam zone, and DFOs of bordering divisions like Doomdooma, Lakhimpur, Digboi and Sonitpur East Divisions.

(Edited by Preetty Ch Marak)