Timber smuggling in Jiri worries minister

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IMPHAL: Noting that absence of security personnel in the interior pockets of newly created
Jiribam district has been giving a free hand to unauthorised timber traders, forest and environment minister Th Shyamkumar has assured that all possible measures will be undertaken for deployment of state forces in adequate strength.

Talking to newspersons during inspection of forest offices and out-posts in the district on Saturday, the minister regretted that invaluable forest products, timber in particular, are being smuggled frequently from the forests of Jiribam district. Shyamkumar said most of the forest items are stealthily ferried through Jiri, Jiri-Barak river confluence and their tributaries by the
smugglers taking advantage of man-power shortage of the forest department.

During his inspection visit that included trekking on foot and riding boat, the minister and district officials covered Jiribam forest office, Jirimukh range forest office and Chowdhurikhal range office. All these offices faced similar problem of manpower shortage as only a handful of forest department personnel were found on duty. The chief minister would be consulted after ending his three-day visit to Jiribam, he said.

Shyamkumar opined that effective checking of the smuggling activities will help the government in collecting invaluable revenues. The minister also interacted with official representatives of Jiribam Municipal Council and assured to address the issue of encroachment on government land in the town in collaboration with the district administration and civil society organisations. He is also scheduled to assess status of projects being implemented for protecting and promotion of forest, environment and soil conservation in the district.

Source: The People’s Chronicle

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