Amid the demand for a wildlife sanctuary, there has been unabated pilferage of natural resources and forest products in Dulung Reserve Forest in North Assam’s Lakhimpur district.
Dulung Reserve Forest under Pathalipam Forest Beat of Lakhimpur Forest Division is officially consisting of 9900.03 hectares land area with a lot of exotic flora and fauna.
The famous Siya Nahar is endemic in this reserve forest. The reserve forest is also rich with various species of wild orchids, creeper bamboo, cane and various kind of Sapindaceae.
The reserve forest also has some very important elephant corridors. But for long the reserve forest has seen indiscriminate plunder of these natural resources.
The Dulung reserve forest is rich with trees of valuable timber with high demand in the market.
There are reports of seizures by the forest department of timbers illegally taken out of the reserve forest.
Large-scale tree felling by timber smugglers has already devastated the reserve forest unchecked, said locals.
According to the villagers living nearby, the reserve forest the plundering of the natural resources has been going on with the knowledge of the concerned forest authorities.
They alleged that timbers are transported illegally by the timber mafias at night.
They also allege that the border dispute with neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh is being taken as an advantage by the timber mafias in Dulung Reserve Forest.
Another matter of concern is the high demand for charcoal which is procured from the burning of the timbers of endemic Siya Nahar trees, leaving Dulung RF on the verge of extinction.
Siya Nahar trees have many medicinal values for which they are smuggled out from the reserve forest.
Similarly many varieties of cane found inside the Dulung reserve forest are also smuggled.