Timber loot continues in DK forest

Timber loot continues in DK forest

The stump of a tree felled and smuggled in the forest region of Kallaje village in Uppinangady taluk.

The forests of Shiradi and Shibaje village are blessed with a rich resource of various species of valuable trees. Rosewood, forest jackfruit (Hebbalasu), Nandi and other varieties of trees in the dense forest have proved to be a mine of wealth for smugglers.

According to villagers, the trees are being felled with woodcutters, day and night. A road has been constructed unauthorisedly amid the thick jungle to facilitate transportation of timber, with brazen impunity.

Villagers allege complicity of Forest officials in the unabated smuggling.  So much so that a department vehicle provides “escort” to the lorries smuggling timber out of the forest.
However, the department staff threaten to register cases against village women who collect firewood in the forest, the residents allege.

Dropping names

The smugglers drop names - of temples and minister - to accomplish their job. According to villagers, two days before executing the theft plan, the forest officials and plunderers float rumours that a minister has “asked” the officials to supply timber to a particular temple. Usually people do not object to felling of trees to facilitate construction of places of worship and the smugglers misuse the faith to serve their nefarious designs.

Foiled bid

A few days ago, four Myrolu trees were supposed to be axed for a temple under renovation near Mangalore. Smugglers attempted to make use of the opportunity to fell 20 trees.

Villagers, who got wind of the plan, foiled the bid. Forest wealth is being looted in the guise of supplying timber to religious places. The perpetrators of the crime have the backing of corrupt officers and politicians, villagers say.

Assistant Conservator of Forests Abbas said that he had inspected the spot and would recommend action against the staff concerned.

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