Meghalaya: Illegal timber business continues in WGH; official turns blind eye

Meghalaya: Illegal timber business continues in WGH; official turns blind eye

TURA | September 16, 2019:

Illegal business of timber still continues in Chibinang village under Phulbaro PS in West Garo Hills (WGH) despite all forms of authority, meant to control the menace, turning a blind eye to the happenings.

Interestingly, the trade is flourishing so much that two more new saw mills have also been added to the more than dozen that were already present in the village.

Chibinang is flanked by two forest gates, one nearby at Hollaidanga (run by state forest) and another by the GHADC as well as a police station. With such check points already in place, it should have been immensely difficult for any illegal trucks carrying timber to pass through, but reality is vastly different with trucks passing through even during the day time – in what can only be called a snub to authorities.

Recent reports have pointed to the addition of illegal saw mills in the area – with saw mills reported at Pushkunipara, Bholarbitha among others. Sources added that the number of timber trucks coming into Chibinang has also seen an increase.

Complaints of illegal timber mills all across the plain belt of Garo Hills had seen action against some of the mills in a drive that began near Hallidayganj and continued through Chibinang and up to Tikrikilla. Last year, various raids saw over a dozen illegal saw mills closed and materials from the mills confiscated by the state forest team in conjunction with police officials. However with no follow up action being undertaken, the mills began operations as usual, just about a week after the seizure.

Timber to Chibinang areas comes, sometimes from even far off places like Williamnagar where the Rongrenggre Forest Reserve is literally been denuded by crooked locals acting along with smugglers. The area also gets its illegal timber from residents from the areas around the villages lining the road to Dadenggre. It also gets timber from nearby Dibru and Gaptuli Forest Reserves.

The information on continued plunder of forest reserves comes in the wake of global climate change with the recently concluded state assembly session even discussing the matter and its impact.

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"There is no way these acts of smuggling are happening without the connivance or information of authorities. It is these people who need to a serious study on awareness. Is this what they are leaving for our future generation," asked activist A M Marak, upon learning of the continued negligence of authorities and the flourishing illegal trade.

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