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Saturday, March 12, 2011

The increasing numbers of illegal saw mills operating in BTAD have posed a serious threat to the ecology of the whole state.One can easily see such illegal saw mills under a small shed in most of the BTC villages.Taking advantage of the indifferent attitude of the BTC administration,numbers of such illegal saw mills have been pouring up in the villages as a means of earning money. With the working capital of just one lakh rupees,any one can set up such mills with out any permission or licence, there by destroying thousands of trees daily,which have posed a serious threat to ecology in the state.It needs mention that apart from a few wild life sancturies,Reserve Forests and NPs,tall and large trees are not seen now a days.The decreasing numbers of such trees like Simalu etc have compelled a few species of birds namely-vulture,hornbill,adjutants kites etc either to move to new locations or to die unnoticed.
The unabated gold rush of illegal timbers from Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh will have serious consequences in NE region.The massive destruction of forests had started in Assam during Assam movement and later during Bodo movement.But most devastating activities had been done by SULFA activists during 1980-2000 period. SULFA activists in active cooperation of the forest officials mercilessly destroyed 90 percent of the forests in BTAD areas in Assam.Most of the valuable trees in Khalingduar Reserve Forest,Bornadi WLS,Mazbat Reserve Forest and Manas NP had been destroyed. Even after the creation of BTC most of the BTC leaders had never been serious to conserve remaining forests in BTAD.The Bodo leaderships rather encouraged people to encroach on new forest areas,putting the final nail on the coffin. Police and foret officials working in BTAD dare not take action against illegal activists.People of Assam too have nearly stopped planting new trees on their own lands.Instead they too have started felling down old trees on their Basti lands which had been planted by their forefathers.People of Assam now a days need money and that is why they have started selling trees (not sparing even small ones) to illegal saw mills, operating in villages.
A huge consignment of illegal timbers on two tractors had been intercepted by people on the night of March 2 at Tegabari near Kalaigaon town.The timbers were brought from Panbari area.Kalaigaon police headed by Bidyut Bikash Barua tried to seize the timbers;But highly placed political leaders compelled police officials to release the tractors and timbers on March 3.In another incident,a fifteen member forest team headed by Haladhar Kalita,Range Officer,Nonai Range Office under Khalingduar Reserve Forest raided the premises of two illegal saw mills operating at Ranthali village near Kalaigaon on March 9 at 10 AM.The forest team seized two complete sets of saw mill mechinaries worth rupees two lakhs and timbers worth rupees five lakhs on the spot.But hundreds of local people gheraod the forest officials demanding release of the seized items.
Bankim Sarma,DFO,Dhansiri Forest Division,Udalguri told media persons on the occasion that the forest policy of the government had to be changed with the change of time.According to him people of the villages would plant more and more plants on their own lands if ownership right of the planted trees was given to the owners.As per the present rule people are not allowd to cut or sell any valuable trees even if planted by the owners, on their own lands.

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