Baramulla, Apr 23, KNT: Jungle smugglers are taking full advantage of present lockdown and are looting forests at will.
Locals living adjacent to forest areas alleged that smugglers are cutting trees in the district posing severe threat to ecological balance and environment.
The residents said that the cutting of trees has been going since a long time that too in broad day light.
“The infamous smugglers are involved in these practices who give a damn to the law. They sell wood in black market. They have made it a business. The role of forest department cannot be ruled out. We have been seeing the chopping of trees since long. Those looting forests have no fear of authorities,” they told KNT.
They said that these smugglers are looting forest cover of district Baramulla which includes Kamran division, Range Kandi Rampore, Rajpora and Cherhar, compartments 25, 28, 31, 36, and 38.
Smugglers started looting compartments 25 and 28 from top side.
Last time when Forest Department transferred an employee from Botango to Control Room after it was established that he is hand in glove with smugglers. “This time Forest Department is completely silent and allowing smuggler to loot the jungles at will,” the locals said.
On an average, the residents said 10-20 trees are chopped down in a day.
The residents said that they brought the issue, into the notice of the concerned forest division several times but nothing has happened so far.
An official under whose jurisdiction, the affected areas fall said that they have been doing their best to protect the forests.
“As such we have not come across any complaint, still we would see, “he said. Admitting that they have less staff, he said that sometimes the smugglers take advantage of the inadequate manpower. (KNT)