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Forest dept taking help from security forces to check timber smuggling: Shyamkumar

 Source: IT News

Imphal, January 27 2018: Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar said the department is taking help from security forces including Army and Paramilitary in the State to help the Forest Department to stop illegal smuggling of forest and wildlife products. Addressing media persons at his residential quarter at Kanglapat, Minister Shyamkumar lauded the 26 Assam Rifles stationed at Thoubal for seizing 16 trucks loaded with timbers and said due to shortage of staff especially the frontline staff, the Forest Department is seeking help from the security forces. He said the department on 18th May, 2017 had written a letter to all the security forces including Army and Paramilitary in the State to help the department.

Forest dept taking help from security forces to check timber smuggling: Minister Shyamkumar

Forest dept taking help from security forces to check timber smuggling: Minister Shyamkumar.

Security forces were requested to detain trucks carrying timbers without transit pass or watermark which are machine numbered by the department. The security forces were asked to hand over the seized trucks to the nearest Forest office, he said. He stated that most of the forest products are smuggled during the night time without the permission of Forest Department/Joint Forest Management Committee taking advantage of the hilly terrain with porous border in the interior areas of the State. He stated that the committed Forest Department officials are working hard to save the forest and wildlife products of the State. He further said as a commitment to save the environment, he along with the Forest officials have been conducting forest inspection tour in districts like the recently concluded tour of Henglep sub-division in Churachandpur district and Indo-Myanmar border in Tengnoupal district. Welcoming the report published in a local daily, Th.Shyamkumar opined that more thorough research would have highlighted important facts. He said the seizure of 16 truckloads of illegal timbers was carried out after all the security forces in the State were intimated by the Forest Department in May last year to seize trucks carrying timbers without transit pass. The report was published by the local daily after the trucks were already seized and handed over to the Forest Department, he added. Minister Shyamkumar said the department will send a proposal to the Centre for establishing a Forest Protection Force to combat illegal smuggling of forest and wildlife products. Stating that the Chief Minister will be discussed over the matter, he hoped that the establishment of Forest Protection Force will enable the department to curb the menace. Appealing to the general public including media to help in combating the problem, he said the Forest department is also checking areas where poppy and other illegal plants are planted after clearing the forest land. He said that Forest Department is planting saplings, harvesting and granting legal permission to cut trees following the guidelines. He said as part of saving the environment, the Horticulture Department will plant fruit bearing trees in the areas where the forest lands have been cleared.