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Forest loot continues unabated in Kangan with alleged support of forest officials


G N Raina
Ganderbal, Jul 16 (KNS): Amid tall claims of the authorities, the forest loot continued in Kangan area of Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district with officials seems hand-in-glove with them, providing free hand to them.

The open loot allegedly by officials of Forest department has taken a huge toll on environment and various animal species in Kangan forests of Ganderbal district.

Kashmir News Service (KNS) has learnt from reliable sources that forest department was directed by higher ups to provide firewood to various departments deployed for Amaranth Yatra duty from compartment number 2,3 Najwan, 8, 19 Akhal ,19 Hayan, 23, 24 Dardwooder, 54 Hung Sonamarg, 53 Sindh opposite forest check post Gagangeer and 55 Sindh Haji Qabar.

However, sources informed KNS that the forest officials have got the firewood from compartment number 64 Lashpathri Sonamarg. “The officials who receive huge monthly sums as share for emptying forests have given thieves free hand to resort to loot at the cost of extremely fragile environment,” they added.

“Besides spoiling the environment, the rare species of animals and birds have also been endangered despite locals raising their voices against these thieves,” sources said.

They said that few persons enjoying the support of higher-ups of the forest department are looting the forest area.

Sources further revealed that after a tiff-off, a vehicle carrying firewood to Baltal Base camp was chased from Sonamarg and later few miles away its form 25 from book number 286 and form number 14267 was checked and it was found that the firewood was brought from compartment 64.

However, the compartment mentioned in form 25 was from 55 Sindh Haji Qabar.

"Few forest officials from past 10 years are favouring to get deployed at Baltal and are vandalizing forests and deceiving forest department,” sources said, adding that the form 25 is signed and sealed in a hotel but not at forest check post.

Sources further added that the forest employees of Sonamarg has kept few wooden logs available near Island park Hung Sonamarg so that visiting officers can think that the firewood is brought from here and Forest department had also deployed field employees from various areas to Baltal.

Meanwhile, locals alleged that the tall claims of successive governments to curb menace of forest loot in Kashmir have fallen flat on the ground.

They alleged that forest loot was never possible without the connivance of the forest officials.

However, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ganderbal and Range Officer Kangan couldn’t get materialized for the comments despite several attempts. (KNS) 

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