Chamba: 7 Deodar stumps, mill in forest hint at large-scale tree felling : The Tribune India

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Chamba: 7 Deodar stumps, mill in forest hint at large-scale tree felling

Inspection conducted by Churah DFO in Chamba district

Chamba: 7 Deodar stumps, mill in forest hint at large-scale tree felling

Photo for representational purpose only.



Tribune News Service

Naresh Thakur

Chamba, May 15

Following the discovery of illegal logging in the Chachul forest area of Churah Forest Division of Chamba district, the forest authorities have launched an investigation.

The illegal felling was uncovered when acting on a complaint, Churah Divisional Forest Officer Sushil Kumar Guleria conducted a surprise inspection last Saturday. The DFO and his team found seven stumps buried in the ground to hide the evidence. A majority of these stumps were of Deodar trees, he said.

Guleria undertook a seven-kilometre trek from the nearest road to the site where the trees were cut investigate the complaint, and found that the allegations were true.

He said some wood has also been recovered in the fields and around the houses in a nearby village. However, further investigation is required to establish the extent of the operation and identify the perpetrators.

During the inspection, the DFO also stumbled upon an unauthorised sawmill. It is suspected that unlawfully obtained wood from the forest was processed at the sawmill. It has been sealed. This clandestine operation had been ongoing for several days.

Guleria said the Forest Range Officer has been directed to conduct a thorough probe into this case and submit a report within a week. Directions have also been issued to the field staff to retrieve the illegally extracted wood. Pending the completion of the final report, the officers accountable will face consequences.

In another incident, a forest guard nabbed one person who had illegally cut a Deodar tree in Shakti Forest of Churah division at night. However, the accused was nabbed before he could dispose of the wood. A case has been registered against him at Tissa police station.

In some cases, the field staff of the Forest Department was also found hand in glove with the forest mafia.

Teams of the Chamba Forest Department recovered six logs of Deodar trees in the Sarni Forest, under the Chil Bangla forest beat of the district. The recovered logs, felled illegally by unidentified individuals, were concealed under thick foliage in the forest.

Last year, the department had chargesheeted six of its field staff for negligence in illegal felling cases in Churah Forest Division of Chamba district.

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