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 Uri village of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Locals at Machikrand village said that the smuggling of timber continues unabated with nobody from the forest department keeping a watch on these forest areas.
In the village, the deforestation has been reported from compartment no. 69, 70 and 71.
Locals living near these compartments alleged a nexus between the smugglers and forest department officials. They said that the officials have helped the smugglers to chop off the trees in the area for 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 timber,” locals alleged.
“Many forest officials on the duty take money from the smugglers and help them to smuggle the timber,” they said.
Divisional Forest Officers Baramulla Mohammad Latif Bhat told Kashmir Vision that he is unaware about the matter.
“Now, I assure you that in morning I will send the inspection team to the village,” the DFO said.