India — Reports reaching from Bhaderwah said that a massive fire in Binola, Dhisena and Ghori areas of Chiralla Forest Range has engulfed hundreds of young green trees.
The sources said that on specific information that smuggling of timber is going on under the protection of STF Post at Ghori in Chiralla Forest Range. Jawans of Forest Protection Force (FPF) post Geosti (which is recently set up) assisted by a police team headed by Sub-Inspector Niaz Ali raided the STF Post Ghori and recovered 150 sleepers of Devdar which were kept hidden in the STF post jurisdiction.
Sources further said that one Punjab Singh a retired teacher was the real face behind the illegal trade and involved in felling of green trees and smuggling of timber under the patronage of STF post Ghori. The persons at the helm of affairs at the post joined hands with smuggler and kept hiding sleepers at the post as no one can even think about such illegal trade under the patronage of STF Post which was set up to curb insurgency in the area. But the Forest Protection Force (FPF) soon after posted at Geosti has geared up its activities in the area against the timber smugglers and has done commendable activities during the past shortest time and has tried to nail the activities of timber smugglers in the area.
One person reportedly son of Punjab Singh was arrested in this connection. Further investigation in the matter is going on. In the meanwhile, report said that some miscreants put the green trees on fire after the police seized a large quantity of smuggled timber in Ghori area on Saturday. About 172 sleepers kept hidden in Kotana area of Chiralla Forest Range were also set on fire. From the Compartment No 1, 2 and 7 of the Chiralla Forest Range some more fire incidents were reported on late Saturday. Relevant to mention here that though the Government had set up a full flagged Range office in Chiralla Forest Range but unfortunately in practical there in no office on ground and all the official work which remain confined to papers only is done from Bhaderwah town.
During the last few years large area of forest land has been converted into the Agriculture Land by grounding several hundred green tress but the officials concerned at the higher ranks on the pretext of militancy never visit the area and have managed their offices in Bhaderwah while the officers at the lower ranks are allegedly involved in the nexus which is threatening the ecological balance. It was due to the active involvement of some local environment activists that higher authorities have agreed to set up a temporary Forest Protection Post (FRP) at Wanipora (Geosti) in Chiralla Forest Range, which after reaching the place have intensified their operations against the timber smuggling in the area inviting strong opposition from the decades old forest smuggling mafia.
In another report received from Valley, major forest fire has damaged hundreds of trees in Daksum area of South Kashmirs Anantnag district since last three days.
Major fire raged in compartment number 27-28 of Daksum forest range in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on Thursday. The fire spreading rapidly in other compartments has damaged hundreds of trees in the range. Conservator Forests, South Kashmir, Manzoor Ahmad Tak said over phone that a team has already been deputed to the affected areas to control the raging fire. Our team is trying its best to control the fire, he added.