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Ganderbal forest being looted at will by jungle smugglers

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KASHMIR NEWS TRUST #KNT

Jungle smugglers are looting the green gold of forest division Sindh here in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district at will. Over 200 casual laborers who are on strike after not getting wages for the last 5 months don’t attend duties while the forest department lacks permanent staff that could keep a vigil and protect the jungles.

Various videos have surfaced on social media showing how jungle smugglers have looted different compartments of the forest division Sindh.

“There are 256 casual labourers in forest division Sindh. Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) despite getting sufficient funds released salaries in favor of 65 employees only while the rest of the employees are without wages for the last five months. Despite protest and strike, DFO is unmoved and equally important is that we fail to understand why some employees were given salaries and others deprived,” a group of casual workers told the news agency Kashmir News Trust.

The casual workers staged a protest against DFO at the press enclave Srinagar. They alleged that some forest employees are hand in glove with the jungle smugglers as a result hundreds of trees have been chopped off without any check.

“At compartment 8 near Andarwan Akhal Kangan, jungle smugglers cut down over 100 mighty pine trees,” they said adding that there has been a rampant felling of trees on a daily basis.

“Not only the felling of trees, but even the nurseries developed by the forest department in Ganderbal division failed in all aspects. Huge money has been spent on these nurseries without any result,” the employees said.

When called for the reaction, Divisional Forest Officer Ganderbal responded with a text message that he is in a meeting. [KNT]

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