Assam Northeast

Smugglers slash trees for illegal timber in reserve forests of Assam; complaints unheard

Timber smugglers are slashing valuable trees everyday at Kundil Kalia reserve forest in broad day light. Kundil Kalia reserve forest falls in Sadiya under Doomdooma forest division in upper Assam district of Tinsukia.

According to sources, the timber smugglers are slashing Katha trees on a regular basis in the reserve forest. The trees are generally used for colours.

Kundil Kalia reserve forest is a prime habitat of eastern Hoolock Gibbon but the rampant deforestation has forced many Hoolock Gibbons to shift from the place.

“Not only Kundil Kalia, other reserve forest like Sunpura 12 mile, Hollow Gaon and Deopani RF in Sadiya are facing deforestation due to rampant cutting down of trees by the timber smugglers. The timber smugglers and forest officials are hand in hand and have been cutting down valuable Katha trees,” alleged Debojit Moran, secretary of Green Bud Society, an environmental NGO.

Moran further alleged that everyday timber trucks are plying on roads and most of the timber laden trucks directly go to the saw mills of Dhola. Many illegal saw mills are functioning in Dhola without any documents and most of them procure logs from the reserve forest illegally.

“Deforestation is rampant in the part but the concerned authorities didn’t take any step to stop the felling of trees. We have informed the matter to the forest officials but no action is being taken,” Moran said.

He further said that earlier the reserve forest had been rich in vegetation but now the forest was clear due to deforestation. He said that the concerned department should take steps to stop the chopping down of trees. He further alleged that the principal chief conservator of Forest have no time to come to the place to see the reality.

Rajib Kumar Das, DFO, Doomdooma Forest Division said, “Our forest team has been engaged in regular patrolling in the area. We are trying our best to stop cutting down of trees. Last week, one timber smuggler fled from the scene after seeing the forest team. Recently, we have launched a combing operation at Tarani reserve forest under Khatangpani range and seized many things from the smugglers.”

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