STATE TIMES NEWS
Bhadarwah: Timber scants extracted from green cedar trees worth lakhs of rupees, along with dozens of fallen cedar trees and logs, were seized from the Chirala range of Bhaderwah forest division, police said on Friday.
Acting on a tip-off, a series of raids were conducted last week in the areas of Lohar Thava, Sundar Goth, Draman Gad, and Kutta, said Doda SSP Abdul Qayoom. Several teams have been formed in all the police stations of Doda district to survey the forest area in their respective jurisdiction and submit the damage report, the SSP said.
Mechanical cutters are being used in the Chirala area for illegal felling and extraction of timber on a commercial scale despite an order by Doda District Magistrate prohibiting their use, the SSP said, adding that strict action will be taken against violators under the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and Indian Penal Code.
Environmentalists and social workers in Chirala have accused the forest officials of being involved in facilitation of timber smuggling, unabated green felling, and forest encroachment on an alarming scale.
“Such massive damage is not possible without the involvement of forest officials. There should be a high-level inquiry against the erring officials,” said Kamran Khan, an environmentalist and journalist.