‘Nexus between officials and smugglers’
Agence India Press
Baramulla: Despite downplaying by the authorities, the residents of this North Kashmir Baramulla District claimed that there has been rampant timber smuggling in the area, and alleged the officials for facilitating the job of timber smugglers.
The residents of Botingo, Hathlango, Mundgi, Shive, Duer and Dangarpora of the Baramulla District told the Agence India Press that,” There have been rampant timber smuggling in the area. The plundering of green gold is going on at the Kandi Kamraz Forest Division and facilitating by the officials.”
The residents alleged that the officials were also getting its ‘share’ and providing safe passage to the ‘smugglers.’
Agence India Press learnt from the reliable sources that, “Smugglers use some 20 to 30 horse carts to carry the timber wood every night from the forests and sell it and earning good money.”
“The timber smuggling is going on in the broad day light as there is nobody to stop them. The officials are getting money from these smugglers and provide a safe passage to smuggle the timber wood freely, ” they alleged.
As per the officials sources, some of the forest officials tried to catch hold of the smugglers but were beaten up severely, and no action was taken against the accused smugglers.
“A block forest officer, three daily wagers and one protection guard were beaten up mercilessly by the smugglers at compartment 32 at Cherihaar; when they tried to intervene the smugglers. These smugglers have unleashed a reign of terror in this area as they are backed up by the officials,” they claimed.
When contacted the Range Officer, Kamraz Forest Division, Baramulla District, Abdul Hameed Ganai, he said, “We have been successful to a greater extent to stop timber smuggling. Since the time I am working here, we have seized 18 carts along with horses and four trucks carrying timber of 2500 feet till date. We have issued warrant against eight smugglers among whom, four have been arrested while man hunt is going on to arrest the rest.”
About the officials beaten up by the smugglers, he said, “These are the wild people living in these jungles. It is not easy to tackle them. We have lodged an FIR against these smugglers at the Police Station, Bomai, and soon they will be behind the bars.”
However, he denied any nexus between forest officials and smugglers. (AIP News)
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