ITANAGAR, MARCH 15 : The Minister for environment & forest and WRD Mama Natung on Tuesday while participating in the zero hour discussion on issue raised by MLA Wanglin Lowangdong with regards to illegal felling of trees in Deomali forest division of Tirap district of state said that the state government will take up the issue with Assam counterpart to stop the illegal timber operation.
The department of Environment & Forest is also very much concerned about such illegal felling of trees and illegal timber operation and has taken several steps and action has been initiated from time to time. The officers and officials of the department have continuously been patrolling in such vulnerable areas followed by action of seizing of illegal timber and also patrolling in the boundary area. Said Natung.
With regards to Deomali Forest Division, Tirap District, the Minister said that the district has 21 Village Forest Reserves, 2 Anchal Forest Reserves and 1 Reserve Forest as notified forest areas and the rest is unclassed Forest. The area has forests rich in good quality timber species predominantly Hollong tree which are prone to illegal felling for commercial purposes.
Several steps have been taken by the Department in the last two years to check the illegal activities in Deomali Forest Division and other forest divisions of state and task forces have been constituted in the vulnerable area and also in the boundary areas. He said..
Complaints were received in 2017, 2018 and so on regarding transport of illegal logs from the area. During inspection by field officers, it was found that trucks and elephants were used for transportation of illegally felled trees to Assam through seasonal roads near Dirok river. However, after strict action and seizure of material by DFO Changlang and Deomali these incidents were stopped. He said.
Information was also received on 22.01.2019 about illegal felling in the Kenon area of Deomali. CCF Deomali was directed to inspect the area in question and DFO, Deomali along with EAC Deomali and field staff thereafter inspected the area. They noticed a truck loaded with old logs was detected on the boundary of Deomali and Changlang divisions but no fresh feeling was detected. DFO Changlang was asked to stop operations of all wood-based industries till combing operation is over. In the operation, a total of 654 logs were seized along with a truck. Informed Natung.
A letter dated 29.01.2020 addressed to CCF, Deomali was issued by PCCF office to take necessary action against illegal activities under Deomali division and to submit inspection reports of Wood Based Industries (WBIs) working under Kanubari Forest Division. Accordingly a joint combing operation was carried out with a mobile squad and 14 stranded logs were seized. However, no illegal felling was observed under Borduria range by patrolling staff. Further, operations in all WBIs at Waisang Industrial Estate (IE) were suspended till verification of all records/registers was over. He said.
After that, timely and periodically the team of officials carrying out patrolling and combing operations has been ordered to prevent illegalities. He said.
As per information 15 logs were seized during the patrolling operation in Borduria VRF and offence reports were drawn. Further, excavation of trench on the road was carried out to prevent entry into the reserve forest. Several cases have also been registered in due course of time. He said.
Strict vigil on daily intake of timber in the wood based industry has been verified and always been verified. A task force has been constituted by forest department and has been working day and night doing patrolling in most vulnerable areas of
Namsang, Mopaya and Borduria and has detected 898 nos. of round logs and few labour camps during combing operation from 11th to 16th January. As a preventive measure, all the entry and exit points of the area are blocked by digging trenches and labour camps have been destroyed.
He urged upon the members of the house to create awareness on conservation and protection of environment and forest and motivate the locals, PRI leaders in protection and preservation of forest and its products. He assured to take up the issue with the Assam counterpart at DFO, CCF and PCCF level, the Minister added.