TURA | June 30, 2019:
In continuation with their 'fight' against timber smuggling in Garo HIlls region of the state, the All Achik Youth Federation (AAYF) and GSU – Dainadubi regional units caught timber-laden pik up truck in North Garo Hills on the wee hours of Friday.
It was informed that the truck (AS 01 DC 9159) was allegedly being taken by smugglers through Dainadubi in NGH towards Assam.
However, all the occupants of the vehicle caught with illegal timber took flight when they saw the NGO members approach. Interestingly an escort car, that was allegedly behind the vehicle also managed to flee from the spot.
The incident apparently took place at about 2 am on Jun 29 when the NGOs saw the vehicle moving suspiciously. When they saw logs at the back of the mini truck, they immediately informed the police before seizing it. The timber allegedly belongs either to the Darugre or Rongjeng Reserve in East Garo Hills.
The two NGOs later handed over the seized timber and the vehicle to the RFO, Dainaduni Range with a FIR filed in the Dainadubi Outpost as well. They also sought stringent action against the criminals and asked for the vehicle not to be released.
"We are shocked to find that the vehicle was able to move through so many police stations and check points without being stopped. This stinks of a nexus between the smugglers and the authorities meant for the preservation of forests," said the NGO members.
According to locals, the escort vehicle in all possibilities may have belonged to local smugglers who were assisting the vehicle in moving through to Assam.
"They must have come to help if there were problems but they ran when we stopped the smugglers," added the NGOs.
Angered at the continued smuggling of timber despite the presence of Forest and police authorities, some members felt it was time to stop the rot before Garo Hills becomes completely denuded.
"They authorities should either wake up to reality to stop these activities or should resign en masse. Their presence is not making any difference to the spate of illegal tree felling activities in any way," they added.