Assam: Timber mafia threat to Upper Dehing reserve forest in Tinsukia


GUWAHATI | August 13, 2018:

Forest department alleged inaction has led  to the rampant felling of valuable trees at Upper Dehing reserve forest in Tinsukia district of Upper Assam.

Spreading over 7,29.3079 sq. km, the Upper Dehing reserve forest is 15km from Tinsukia district.

The timber smugglers and forest officials after alleged nexus has put the Upper Dehing reserve forest of Digboi forest division under threat. It has been alleged that the felling of trees is rampant at Lakhipathar and Margherita west range of upper Dehing reserve forest.

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As per to the sources, the timber smugglers enter the forest in broad daylight.

But the forest department has allegedly chosen to ignore the anomalies and irregularities that have been brought to light several times by the wildlife activists.
The forest, which had rich vegetation a few years ago, now become a happy hunting ground for unscrupulous timber smugglers.Sources alleged  hollong, tita sopa,  mekai and hollock trees are targeted by the timber mafia using machines and then transported by elephants.These are supplied to sawmills in Upper Assam.President of the Evergreen Foundation and an NGO, Bijay Gogoi said, "Despite several pleas to the forest department about the illegal smuggling of the tress from the forest but they didn't bother to take action against the unscrupulous timber mafia. After slashing the trees they transport the logs by using elephants and trucks and supply them to the sawmills of Upper Assam. This illegal smuggling has been going on for many years in front of the district administration."

He said preservation and conservation are the top priorities of the forest department but they are being ignored.

On May 16, two timber laden trucks were caught at Digboi but later they were freed.


Gogoi alleged, "We demand an inquiry into the illegal supply of timber. Most of the sawmills are hand in glove with the timber smugglers. We had earlier informed the principal conservator of forests about the anomalies and illegal cutting of trees but no action has been taken".

Source: The Telegraph

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