Security beefed up in national forest following rampant smuggling
February 1, 2019 03:01 AM NPT
By: Madan Thakur
RAUTAHAT, Jan 31: The District Forest Office (DFO), Rautahat has tightened security along the national forest areas following repeated complaints from the locals regarding increasing number of cases of timber smuggling. With this, the DFO has been successful in seizing more than 200 cubic feet of logs and many vehicles used for smuggling purpose in the last one week.
According to the locals, smuggling has been rife especially in Judibela and Junglesahiya area of the national forest. The government patrol team has so far arrested two pick-up trucks, a motorcycle and eight bicycles used for smuggling along with numerous logs of valuable wood.
Two Bolero jeeps of the DFO (Na 3 Kha 4128 and Na 3 Cha 5737) were also used for the smuggling purpose. The forest administration has also arrested Raj Kishor Sah of Karhariya Municipality-9 while illegally transporting timber.
The DFO has also asked for clarification from its officials after some of them were accused of being involved in the smuggling. The DFO has asked Sonfi Paswan, assistant forest officer at Junglesahiya to clarify why smuggling is rampant in his area.
Binod Singh, chief of the DFO, informed Republica that the joint effort of Armed Police Force and the officials of DFO caught the vehicles and wooden logs while being loaded for smuggling. He further informed that three vehicles of forest officials, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force would be patrolling in the forest areas for twenty-four hours.
Furthermore, the DFO has dug up a large hole in the main areas where smuggling is rife. With the closure of the backdoor ways and increased surveillance, smugglers have been discouraged. However, this is not the first time security has been tightened in the forest area as the DFO had made such efforts in the past as well but in vain. Despite making several efforts, there had been no decrease in the smuggling rate.
Smugglers are more active especially during mornings and evenings when there is heavy fog and the weather is cold. Taking advantage of lack of visibility and the cold, they transport the logs and other valuable resources. Forest officials claim that smuggling has increased especially in the western and southern parts of the national forest.