BIRGUNJ, Jan 4: Police in Birgunj confiscated 30 logs while being smuggled from a protected forest on Monday.
The timber was confiscated after a team led by Chief District Officer Keshav Raj Ghimire reached the incident site, which is a national forest of the district, following complaints by the locals. CDO Ghimire was attending a program under the campaign of Police My Friend in Rangapur when the locals complained of deforestation and timber smuggling in the nearby areas. CDO Ghimire along with DSP Govinda Kumar Shah of the Rangapur Area Forest Office promptly inspected the suspected areas and found the timber being illegally smuggled.
DSP Shah said that 129 cubic feet of wood was confiscated. “We found timber worth more than Rs one million hidden under haystack,” said Sah.
CDO Ghimire suspects the involvement of organized group behind the wood smuggling. “When we heard that there was illegal chopping of trees in the forest we came here for investigation and found out that this work is not possible without organized group of people,” said Ghimire.
Government officials are also under scanner as deforestation and wood smuggling is not possible without their involvement. “Smugglers are encouraged to work in an organized way since these kinds of information were not provided by the representatives of political parties and civil society members,” said Ghimire.
Acknowledging the increased activities of smugglers in the district, District Forest Officer Chandradev Lal Karna said a forest guard of the Rangapur Area Forest Office has been summoned for investigation. Officials suspect the involvement of forest guard Mitralal Chaudhary in timer smuggling.
DFO Karna also informed that two locals Mahendra Chaudhary and Birendra Chaudhary have been found to be involved in the smuggling.
Meanwhile, Police have taken the confiscated timber under their control. Three locals, Arjun Sahani, Ramraj Bin and Sudarshan Patel were caught red-handed by the forest officials, according to DFO Karna.