Logging Trucks and Elephant Seized

Diphu March 8: A squad of forest protection officials led by Jotin Sharma, Divisional Forest Officer of Hamren seized four logging trucks overloaded with green logs and one elephant from inside Meghalaya yesterday. They were used to smuggle the logs from Khatkhalsa, a woody area inside Southern range of Hamren forest division in west Karbi Anglong.

According to residents of Jirikinding, where the range office is located due to utter negligence of the previous DFO and reflexive support of the Range Officer of Southern range Dhan Sing Terang, a large scale illegal logging operation is going on. This operation, being at the proximity of Meghalaya, transporting of green logs to the neighbouring state is quite trouble-free, particularly when the warden is helping the smugglers.

Interestingly, Dhan Sing Terang, the Range Officer, did not participate in the operation against the smugglers and the DFO who has joined the post recently himself rushed with a team to intercept the convoy of trucks.

In fact all the trucks reached Safai, a place inside the Jayantya Hills district of Meghalaya from where they were seized and brought back inside Assam by the new Divisional Forest Officer who has a track record as a tough officer against illegalities.

“The elephant has been handed over to the Meghalaya Wildlife Division as it would have been difficult for the animal to travel from Safai to Jirikinding; around 11 unlawful saw mills are operating randomly within Meghalaya which are nourished by timber of our forest, detail of the illegal saw mills will be placed before the higher authority for initiating consolidated measures” Jotin Sharma, Divisional Forest Officer of Hamren told this correspondent over the phone.

Sushanta Roy is a journalist in Assam, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora of Assam, and the things that affect them.