Green gold loot goes unabated in Ganderbal, smugglers and officials in nexus

Green gold loot goes unabated in Ganderbal, smugglers and officials in nexus

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Wahid Bhat

SRINAGAR: There seems to be no end to the unabated loot of green forts in the central Kashmir’s district of Ganderbal. Locals alleged that scores of green trees are being felled by the timber smugglers.

They alleged that the concerned department is not able to curb the loot. “The open loot and plundering of green gold by smugglers in nexus with the higher-ups of Forest department has taken a huge toll on environment and various animal species in Chattergul area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district”, they said.

Residents said that the timber smugglers have virtually created havoc in the area. They said the timber smugglers go to the forest area according to their will and cut the trees knowing that nobody would take action against them. “Compartments 6, 7 and 8 have virtually been turned into barren land by the timber smugglers since most of the trees have been cut by them. The trees felled by them are very important since they are all Deodhar trees fetching a good amount from the market”, they said.

They said that despite this situation in the forest no attention is being paid by concerned officials and they seem to be deep in sleep.

The residents demanded that the high-ups of the Department of Forest should take a strong note of the illegal felling of trees so that stern action is taken against the violators of law. They averred that if the felling of trees goes on then the forest area in this Central Kashmir district would vanish and that too very soon.

Sources told Press Trust of Kashmir that not only the Forester and other official are involved in smuggling ‘Timber’ in Ganderbal distrct.

Sources claimed that the officials who receive huge monthly sums as share for emptying woodland have given these non-state thieves free hand to resort to loot at the cost of extremely fragile environment.

Sources further added that the Chattergul area has been left in the hands of thieves by administration and no action has been taken against them so far.

Besides spoiling the environment the rare species of animals and birds have also been endangered, locals cannot raise their voices against these thieves,” sources said. They said that the smugglers have been enjoying due support of higher-ups of the forest department in blanking the forest area.

Meanwhile sources confirm Press Trust of Kashmir that a vehicle JK04B 9859 Ecco with large quantity of illegal timber in Sindh Range Manasbal has been seized.

When contact Minister of State (MoS) for Forest Zahoor Mir he refused to comment over the issue. (PTK)

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