Assam Minister warns officers against illegal trade of forest resources
Guwahati: Expressing serious concern over ongoing illegal trade of forest resources, Assam Forest Minister Parimal Shuklabaidya on Tuesday set a 15-day deadline for officers to end the corrupt practice and put in place a system to plug the revenue loss.
The Minister’s warnings came days after he made some sudden night patrols on the areas under Guwahati and Sonapur forest ranges and witnessed the movement of hundreds of trucks carrying illegal sand and stones. However, the official record registered only a few trucks moving with the forest resources, indicating that illegal trade is thriving.
He then held an emergency meeting with beat officers of Guwahati and Sonapur forest ranges and senior officials and warned the officers, particularly the beat officers of these two forest ranges against the illegal trade of sand and stone, etc.
Shuklabaidya, who as Excise Minister, had also plugged the revenue leakage of the department, directed state’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest A.M. Singh to provide adequate force to carry out raids at all suspected locations and checkpoints across the above-mentioned places to check all kinds of illegal activities regarding the trade of natural resources.
“If any officer irrespective of his designation, is found to be involved in such trades, he will be placed under suspension immediately and there will be legal action against him,” he said.
The Minister also directed the Chief Conservator of Forests to handle the issues of permits for such natural resources required for development works by different departments like PWD, Water Resources, etc. so that the illegal trade could be checked.