Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department on 5th November seized 376 square feet of illegal timber in Gowharpora in Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
A First Information Report (FIR) lodged in the Chadoora Police Station, names a local resident Fayaz Ahmed Magray, in whose premises the illegal timber was recovered.
Speaking to The Kashmir Walla, Station House Officer (SHO) Sajjad Mir said that “the timber recovered from a sawmill has been received from the adjacent forests. We have ordered an inquiry into the matter. The main accused [Mr. Magray] of the case is currently absconding.”
Terming it as “damage for local use”, Conservator Srinagar circle Zubair Shah said that it was not a case of timber smuggling as timber is said to be smuggled when it is shifted from one region to another.
“As prima facie, we don’t know the origins [of the timber] yet and we are constituting a team to investigate and trace out how it has happened,” said Mr. Shah. “Whether it was due to apathy on the official level or on the ground level is yet to be determined completely.
“Thanks to our prompt action and timely intervention we have seized the timber and have initiated a departmental probe as well as a police inquiry”, he added.
Meanwhile, the forest department has suspended the block officer of BK Pora as well as attached a Range Officer for their alleged involvement in the case.
Timber smuggling and deforestation is a major concern of the department. Unprecedented deforestation has already been caused to the Doodh Ganga range, particularly in an area called Char Jin.
The Forest Department is also unclear about the timeline of the deforestation caused. “ “It is not as if the whole issue [deforestation] took place in a day or two,” said Mr. Shah “Trees are cut over a period of time, so if half a dozen trees were felled at one point in time, the others were done over another period of time. Hence we mention the whole time period.