Timber smuggling rampant in Uri forests

Timber smuggling rampant in Uri forests

Idrees Bukhtiyar
Uri: At a time when the forest department claims they are doing ‘enough’ to save forests from smugglers, the loot and axing of green gold is rampant in many villages of north Kashmir’s Uri town.
Locals said the smuggling of timbre continues unabated in Machikrand, Sopargah, Sukhdar villages and many other villages of Boniyar tehsil.
In Machikrand village deforestation has been reported from compartment no. 69, 70 and 71. In Sukhdar axing of timbre goes nonstop in compartment number 58, 59, 75 and 76.
Locals living near these compartments alleged a nexus between the smugglers and forest department officials has helped the smugglers to chop off the trees in the area to their benefits.
They said though the local forest officials are well known about the matter but they still are acting as mute spectators.
“Due to callous attitude of forest department, the smugglers are roaming freely in the area. They enter the village at dusk with their vehicles and leave at dawn with good quantity of timbre,” locals alleged.
When contacted, District Forest Officer (DFO) Baramulla, Irfan Ali Shah said they are going to carry raids against the smugglers in near future.
“I visited Uri town when I came to know about the smuggling of timbre from many villages of the town. I visited Kamalkote, Dardkote villages with my team to check the smuggling,” he said.
“In future, we are again visiting the town for the raids and crackdown will be launched against such timbre smugglers,” the DFO added.

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