February 2020 News

Forest Loot Continues Unabated In Bhaderwah

4 February 2020
Brighter Kashmir

Bhadarwah: Famous for its snow peaks and lush green forests Jammu and Kashmir gets most of its revenue from forest wealth but illegal large-scale felling of trees in Bhadarwah Tehsil of Jammu Kashmir continues allegedly in connivance with forest officials. Located at a height of 6,500 feet, Bhaderwah region of Doda is a picturesque valley, with thick coniferous forests on all sides but illegal deforestation by timber mafia is depleting the forest cover. The illegal felling of green Deodar and pine trees despite Supreme Court ban is fast depriving Jammu and Kashmir of its precious forest wealth. Green trees worth millions have been illegally chopped off in compartments like 18, 19 and from compartment numbers 45 to 66 in the block Puneja, Dugga and Dandi in Neeru Range of Bhadarwah Forest Division. The state is losing its green sheen fast as the forest land has shrunk from 20,230 square kilometers to just 7,590 sq km as per data furnished by the State Department for Forest last year. Some of the smugglers who are active in compartment number 66 of Neeru Range in Bhadarwah Forest Division claimed that they are paying huge sums to officials for chopping down the trees. The authorities, however, said they are vigilant and would prosecute their own officials if they are caught red handed. A top official from Forest Department told Kashmir News Trust that the forest department is supposed to keep strict vigil on these activities so that no one could loot precious resources. 'I assure you if anybody is indulging in illegal illicit green felling, we will definitely take action.' Reliable sources said that as of now no inquiry has been initiated and illegal felling of green cedar is going on unabated in Bhadarwah Forest Division.