Srinagar, July 27: As a part of the nexus between the officials of the Forest Development Corporation (FDC), Forest Department and the contractors in north Kashmir, scores of unmarked trees have been cut down at Botapathri Churkhudan area of Gulmarg, and converted into logs measuring nearly 2100 CFts.
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As per details, the violations had been going on for a long time in Jhelum Valley Forest Division, Baramulla with the officials hand in glove with the contractor who had been tasked to extract timber from the forests in the area. As the previous contractor was not given the contract this year, he raised the alarm about the nexus in which unmarked trees were being cut.
The compartment 21 in Boniyar area where unmarked trees were cut by the contractor with the connivance of the officials falls under the control of the Jhelum Valley Forest Division, Baramulla.
Those with the know-how of the matter told Excelsior that while the officials are stating that the violation was noted on July 22, the same has happened several days before that and the concerned officials also delayed the process of registering the FIR by several days in order to shield the violators.
“The matter is basically that the FDC marks the trees that are damaged and are meant to be cut down, however, what has happened in this case is that the unmarked trees have been cut down and converted into logs as a part of nexus between the officials of the FDC, Forest Department and contractor,” sources said.
However, the forest officials have a different story to tell including different figures. The DFO, JV Forest Division, Baramulla told Excelsior that on July 22, they came to know about the violations by the contractor who converted the unmarked trees into logs.
“I immediately rushed to the spot and had range officer, Boniyar, and other officials with me. The logs were seized and the contractor, who was given the contract, named Ab Rasheed Lone S/O Abdul Ahad Lone R/O Ladoora Rafiabad, has been booked. The FIR has been lodged on July 24 and the investigation is on,” he said, adding the laborers at the spot reported that they were told by the contract to convert the unmarked trees into logs.
As per officials, the logs that have been seized are measuring 1478 CFts and the FIR in the case has been registered in Police Station Boniyar under FIR No 44 of 2022 dated 24/07/2022.
Meanwhile, the officials said that after the FIR, an inquiry committee has also been constituted which has been tasked to submit a factual report for further necessary action and further course of action. “The action will be taken against the contractors as well as those, even if they are the officials of the department if their involvement is found anywhere,” the DFO said.