This is the third huge recovery of illegal timber made by police in the month of March and during these operations against forest mafia, 10 smugglers were also arrested but surprisingly Forest Department and Forest Protection Force who are supposed to be the custodians of forest is maintaining a criminal silence and seems to be unmoved by the recent developments in Bhaderwah Forest Division.
“Since Jan 10, we have been continuously informing PCCF Vinod Ranjan and Conservator Chenab Circle M. M. Gupta about the plundering of green gold in Bhaderwah Forest Division by forest mafia and some forest officials by sending them video clips, still photographs, web links and paper cuttings but they seem to be unmoved and this casual attitude of forest officers has given a free hand to the corrupt forest officials resulting in massive and irreparable damage to the Bhaderwah forest known for its rare black cedar.”
“Hundreds of young green trees of pole height are being cut ruthlessly every day and there is no one to stop them,” said Sheikh Tahir Mahmood, an environmentalist alleging that forest minister seems to be a party to all these wrong doings that is why “he is turning a blind eye to the plunder of green gold”.
It’s notable to mention here that media team who has been reporting of the massive damages of green cedar and pine forest in Bhaderwah since 10 Jan was attacked twice by the timber mafia and on Feb 26 cameraman of a news agency Aashiq Hussain was manhandled by timber mafia at village Halyan-Runta and his equipment was also damaged. But despite the threats and physical assault by timber mafia and some officials of Bhaderwah Forest division, a local English daily Kashmir Times continued its fearless reporting against this illicit practice by publishing reports on Feb. 21, Feb. 27, March 1 and March 7.
DDC Doda Farooq Khan while extending his full support to media in exposing the illicit and green felling of this precious wealth by offering security said, “I have sought report from Conservator Chenab circle twice since the reports of large scale damages to green forest in Bhaderwah surfaced but till date I’m waiting for his response. Now I will take the matter to the forest minister.”
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