GOLAKGANJ, Jan 2 � The once deep forest areas in Dhubri district are now facing denudation, due to the lackadaisical attitude of the departments concerned to prevent encroachment and illegal felling of trees there. Sources say that rampant felling of trees and smuggling of forest resources are going on in the forest areas of the district.
According to information, over 2,60,087.16 hectares of forest land has been encroached upon.
According to Putul Chandra Roy Prodhani, advisor to the Dhubri district AASU unit, forest areas of Rupshi, Bashbari, Salkocha, Khorkhori and Mahamaya are under the control of timber smugglers as the officials of the Forest Department are scared of these politically connected persons.
He added that the shortage of personnel in the Forest Department in the forests of Rupshi, Bashbari, Khorkhori, Lalmati, Kushaghati, Makrijhora, Panbari, etc., under Dhubri and Kokrajhar Forest Divisions, has complicated the situation.
A Forest Department official of Khoraghat Forest Range said that the Mahamaya Reserve Forest and Rupshi Forest in Dhubri and Kokrajhar Divisions are the targets of timber smugglers. The Mahamaya forest covers 9923.6 hectares of land and valuable trees, like sal, segun, bonsom, lia, etc., are found there. However, due to the negligence of the authorities concerned, the timber smugglers are having a field day, the forest official sources said. The timber smugglers use bullock carts or trucks to transport the valuable logs from the forest areas and sell them at Tufanganj and Boxirhat of West Bengal.
Local people allege that some forest officials and police personnel are involved in such illegal activities.
Forest areas like Khorkhori, Moterjhar are also present a similar look, devoid of any trees worth calling so.
Local people here are demanding security and other appropriate steps to protect the forest resources from the timber smugglers.