S. Harpal Singh
ADILABAD: Alarmed over the growing incidence of illegal felling of trees in forests of Adilabad since the launch of bhoo poratam by Left parties, the department has requested for police support to curb the illegal activity. Adding to the problems of the Forest department are the timber smugglers who have launched their nefarious activities deriving advantage of the Left parties’ movement.
A proposal for allotment of 10 to 15 armed policemen in the shape of Special Protection Force’ (SPF) for each of the 11 identified ranges in five of the six forest divisions has been sent to the Government. These forest ranges have been identified as vulnerable areas for encroachments after the bhoo poratam experience.
SPF at disposal
The proposal envisages keeping the SPF at the disposal of concerned Divisional Forest Officers and Forest Range Officers for rapid deployment. The preferred composition of SPF is that of Armed Reserve Police or Central Reserve Police Force.
Starting July, 631 acres of forest land was encroached upon by landless poor numbering 4,353 and 8,684 trees including 2,884 mature teak trees were cut illegally in the district.
Of late, known timber smugglers like Multanis have also taken up felling on a larger scale.
78 cases were booked on 506 participants of bhoo poratam. Of them 484 were prosecuted and six first information reports were filed.
“The worst hit are the Nirmal and Jannaram forest divisions that account for about 600 acres of encroachments.
Most of the trees including about 100 year old teak trees were also in these locations", revealed Adilabad Conservator of Forest B.S. Yousuf Sharief.
In addition to the bhoo poratam activists, the department has also identified habitual timber smugglers who took part in the recent ‘carnage’ of the forest. “About 30 of them are being prosecuted,” Mr. Sharief added.