Tribune News Service
Yamunanagar, April 4
In spite of the crackdown on the smuggling of khair wood, the wood mafia continues to fell and illegally transport logs of timber in the district.
In the past one year, from April 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021, 19 cases against 58 persons were filed in the special environment court, Kurukshetra, for allegedly smuggling khair wood.
In the year before that (from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020), the Forest Department had filed seven cases against 23 offenders.
The khair wood fetches about Rs 8,000 per quintal in the domestic market. Most of the logs smuggled from the district are supplied to factories manufacturing “kattha” (catechu) in Delhi and Bahadurgarh (Haryana).
Sources said that a sharp decline in illegal mining activities had been reported in Yamunanagar district in the past one year due to efforts by Deputy Commissioner Mukul Kumar, Superintendent of Police Kamaldeep Goyal and the Special Enforcement Team constituted by the state government to stop illegal mining.
“More the strictness, more the smuggling,” said a source, adding the wood mafia took advantage of the staff crunch ailing the department.
Khair trees are found in abundance in the forest area of the district starting from Asgarpur village to Kalesar village. Besides, timber trees are grown on panchayat and private lands as well.
Suraj Bhan, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), said the department was making efforts to completely wipe out the smuggling of khair wood. “We have formed teams in all forest ranges of the district. These teams patrol the area at night to curb the smuggling,” he added.