Despite forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma’s efforts to stop timber smuggling in the state, inter-state smugglers appear to be ruling the roost. Posing a challenge to forest department, incidents of timber smuggling have gone up in Tinsukia district. In the process the government is losing its revenue.
On Sunday morning local youths along with forest personnel intercepted four vehicles carrying illegal timbers at Kakopathar range under Doomdooma forest division in Tinsukia district. But only two of the trucks bearing registration number AS-06 AC -0252, and AS-01 CC-4675 were later brought to Doomdooma forest division office.
Even the DFO Doomdoma who was at Guwahati when contacted told NE NOW that four vehicles were seized in all because none of them could produce any valid document.
On the other hand, a forest employee explained that the two other vehicles had managed to give a slip under the cover of thick fog and darkness. He said no arrest was made to this effect till the filing of the report adding ‘we have seized two vehicles only while the other two managed to escape under the cover of fog.’
The incident has once again exposed the nexus between the timber smugglers and a section of corrupt forest officials. Members of NGOs also pointed accusing finger at the tacit understanding between the timber smugglers and a section of corrupt officials.
Evergreen Foundation secretary Debojit Moran and Evergreen Buds Society president Bijay Gogoi further pointed out that the timber mafias had been exploiting the vegetation cover at various ranges under Doomdoma division besides smuggling valuable logs under the nose of the forest department. The aggrieved NGOs repeatedly urged the department to curb the menace with strong hands, but mysteriously the authorities turned a blind eye to their pleas.