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Tree felling and illegal trade of forest products have become regular occurrences in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills (WGH) district.
In this regard, the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), on February 12, took stock of the situation in the village forest of Arigre under Phulbari range.
Department officials reported that a village headman (Nokma) was allegedly involved in the illegal trading of trees from A’king forest reserve.
They sold the timber from the forest to the local business people from Chibinang for an estimated amount of Rs 3.2 lakh.
Terming the rapid destruction of the forest as a matter of great concern, the GHADC officials said, “Young trees, some as old as a year, have been hacked down without care.They don’t seem to care what happens to the environment because of these acts. It is condemnable."
The officials also stated that the lush green area around the forest now resembles an empty piece of land – a stark contrast from the thick foliage that once engulfed the area.
“Truckloads of timber are carried from the hills to the plains to cater to the various illegal sawmills operating in the area,” officials informed.
The timber trade apparently goes on without the knowledge of the villagers or the GHADC - the custodian of land and forests in Garo Hills.
(Edited by Shankar Kumar Turha)