Tosamaidan, the picturesque meadow in central Kashmir, and the vast forest surrounding it are dying a silent death due to deforestation caused by timber smuggling by locals, the very people who...
Fresh tree felling in Kandakhanikhal, near Joli Danda, Dwarikhal Block
JP Dabral of Himalayan Chipko Foundation received information from volunteers in Chaulusain, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, that about 250 sleepers of wood were brought from the forest and had been kept just above the road before Kandakhanikhal near Joli Danda.
He along with the camera team visited the site and shot all the evidence. The evidence is conclusive. Like always the Forest Department would have given permission to cut only 2 or 3 trees in the private (naap) land of an individual villager and then the contractor has cut over 250 sleepers of pine wood. 6 to 8 sleepers can be obtained from the pine trees in Kandakhanikhal area. Therefore for 250 sleepers about 40 trees would have been cut.
We were not able to get any information whether the contractor had carted sleepers of wood from the same site earlier.
Despite several PILs filed by Himalayan Chipko Foundation in Supreme Court of India relating to the illegal felling of trees in the forest of Uttarakhand the rampant destruction of forests still continues to go on.
Himalayan Chipko Foundation was also able to find out that the tree felling was done by one forest contractor by the name of Khargwal of Kotdwar.
Dabral has informed CM, Chief Secretary, PCCF of Uttarakhand and District Magistrate and DM, Conservator of Forests and Superintendent of Police, Pauri Garhwal about the illegal felling. Dabral has asked them to find out for how many trees was the permission given. And then match it with the number of trees that have been cut in the forest. Since many more trees had been cut it is important to find out from where they came. Such a large number of trees cannot be cut from the private land of one person. Either the wood was stolen from the private land of people who are employed elsewhere and are not aware of the tree felling or from those who are scared of the timber mafia of Uttarakhand.
The government should also compensate the individuals from whose land the trees have been cut without their knowledge or permission.
The PCCF should also ensure that the Forest Department does not issue transit permit for the wood and the entire lot is confiscated immediately.
FIRs should be filed immediately against the officials and forest contractors who are misusing the system and destroying the environment of Uttarakhand.
The CM because of having the charge of Forest Ministry with himself should ensure that illegal tree felling should stop in Uttarakhand.
Assessing illegal logging
Chatham House is assessing the scale and effectiveness of the response to illegal logging and the related trade around the world. Full details of this work, including analysis and data, will be available online soon.