Illegal trade of forest resources in Assam, minister warns

Tezpur: Forest officials drive away a rhino which strayed away from Kaziranga National Park in Tezpur of Assam on June 25, 2016. (Photo: IANS)
Forest officials drive away a rhino which strayed away from Kaziranga National Park in Tezpur of Assam. Photo: IANS
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Guwahati: Expressing serious concern over ongoing illegal trade of forest resources, Assam Forest Minister Parimal Shuklabaidya on Tuesday set a 15 day deadline for officers to end the corrupt practice and put in place a system to plug the revenue loss.

The Minister's warnings came days after he made some sudden night patrols on the areas under Guwahati and Sonapur forest ranges and witnessed movement of hundreds of trucks carrying illegal sand and stones. However, the official record registered only a few trucks moving with the forest resources, indicating that illegal trade is thriving.

He then held an emergency meeting with beat officers of Guwahati and Sonapur forest ranges and senior officials and warned the officers, particularly the beat officers of these two forest ranges against the illegal trade of sand and stone etc.

Shuklabaidya, who as Excise Minister, had also plugged the revenue leakage of the department, directed state's Principal Chief Conservator of Forest A.M. Singh to provide adequate force to carry out raids at all suspected locations and check points across the above mentioned places to check all kinds of illegal activities regarding the trade of natural resources.

"If any officer irrespective of his designation, is found to be involved in such trades, he will be placed under suspension immediately and there will be legal action against him," he said.

The Minister also directed the Chief Conservator of Forests to handle the issues of permit for such natural resources required for development works by different departments like PWD, Water Resources etc. so that the illegal trade could be checked.

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