Meghalaya: No regard for the Law! Timber smuggling continues in full swing in WKH

Meghalaya: No regard for the Law! Timber smuggling continues in full swing in WKH

NONGSTOIN | Feb 23:

Despite laws in place, timber smuggling in West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya continues to remain a major issue as the district faces the problem of constant deforestation. Environmentalists predict that the district may soon transform into a grassland, if measures are not under.

With an administration and a state government that is worryingly silent on the issue, for most concerned people, it may just need a miracle to put a stop to the continued illegality.

"What we saw while moving through the district is mind boggling. There were at least 10 major timber mills just by the side of the road, literally with mountains of cut timber by the side of each. What was more was that during the 2 hour drive through from Nongchram to Nongstoin, there were at least 15 trucks of timber moving through. All this was being done during the day," said one AM Marak, a resident of Tura.

Marak had moved through the district just 2 days ago and had even collected photos and videos as evidence.

Estimates put the number of trucks illegally carrying timber on a daily basis at anything between 60-80 per day. All routes going out of the district into neighbouring Assam, including Mallangkona, Aradonga, Langpih etc are used for the movement of such cut timber with pine trees among others being the main target.  

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The worrying thing, according to Marak is that there seems to be no slow down in the excesses of what is currently happening in the district.

"Is WKH in a different country? Going by what they are doing right out in the open, it seems the district is far removed from laws of the country. When will they actually stop this madness or rather when will the state government and the local administration actually wake up and put a stop to what is currently going on," he asked.  

SR Sangma, the president of CEPARD, an environmental NGO from Garo Hills expressed his unhappiness over the continued destruction of forests as well as the government apathy towards what was happening.

"This cannot go on forever. The government has to take responsibility and act to ensure the protection of forests. The state forest reserves are already in a very tight situation and if they continue to overlook these acts, we are in for a lot of trouble in the coming days," said Sangma.

CEPARD has further threatened to go to Court if no concrete measures are taken to stop further deforestation.

"We can't just remain mute spectators to these rabid acts," he added.  

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