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Wanton destruction of Kashmir forests going on unabated

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Locals from the Mawar area of Langate Forest Division in North Kashmir’s Handwara have appealed to higher-ups to stop the rampant jungle smuggling going on in different compartments unabatedly without any delay.

They alleged that Langate Forest Division has become a hotbed for timber smugglers who have cut down scores of valuable pine trees from different compartments.

Locals told the news agency Kashmir News Trust that timber smugglers loot the forest at will. They said compartment numbers from 24 to 26 have been badly hit due to the rampant smuggling.

“The irony is that this loot has been going on in broad daylight. We fail to understand how these smugglers dodge forest officials,” they said adding that it is a big issue and they are concerned about it.

Locals said that the wanton destruction of natural resources has anguished them.

“A few days back a police team led by SHO Qalamabad even seized five big logs of Deodar (Himalayan Cedar) from smugglers. We appreciate this police action but at the same time want an end to the loot of green gold,” locals unanimously said.

When contacted, Chief Conservator North Irfan Rasool said that a special team would be formed to put a check on the jungle smuggling. He said control room teams will keep vigil on the activities of jungle smugglers and those responsible for smuggling will face the music.

Meanwhile, in Numblan Block of Rumshi Range Pulwama, jungle smugglers have defaced the sheen of the forests cutting down hundreds of trees in compartment number RI 16. The photographs of green gold loot have gone viral while netizens have appealed to authorities to exhibit some seriousness and save the Kashmir forests. [KNT]

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