Jeypore: At a time when the world is on tenterhook to save trees to protect the environment, a contrasting story of rampant and unabated felling of trees in Odisha’s Koraput district has raised serious environmental concerns.
Scores of valuable trees like Acacia and Teak are being allegedly felled and supplied by timber mafia in Kendupata jungle under Kundura forest range in the district.
The forest mafia have felled a lot of valuable trees in Keremeti, Kaujharana and Pandrimati villages by taking advantage of lack of communication facilities in the area, alleged locals.
A forest protection committee is working in the panchayat, but trees are being felled in broad daylight by mafia bosses who threaten the local forest protection committee members, they said.
It is also alleged that despite repeated complaints against the forest mafia, the local foresters and range authorities have failed to take any action against the illegal traders.
Gurunath Durua, a local of Kendupata said, “A forest protection committee is working here. The committee members had requested the forester here to take action against the mafia, but it fetched no result.”
On being asked about the matter, the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Jeypore, Ashwini Kumar Kar feigned ignorance of any such illegal felling of trees in the area.
Kar said, “We will conduct an enquiry based on the allegations. If we find any such illegal cutting of trees inside the forest, stringent action will be taken against the culprits.”