Assam takes stern steps against illegal forest trade

GUWAHATI: The Assam forest department has decided to take strict measures against illegal trade of natural resources in the wake of loss of forest cover in the state.

Assam forest and environment minister, Parimal Suklabaidya, in a review meeting on Tuesday, directed forest officials to enforce a ban on all forms of illegal extraction of forest resources given the loss of revenue and forest cover across Guwahati and Sonapur range and Kamrup division.

A statement issued here informed that the forest department has decided to ban all illegal activities such as extraction of sand, stones, et al and that any involvement of any category of officers and staff in such activities would be treated under the state’s zero-tolerance policy and immediate legal action taken against offenders.

Suklabaidya sought a combined detailed report from the respective range officers and division regarding their plan of action for the termination of the illegal trade within 15 days failing which the officers would face stiff and necessary action.

Principal chief conservator of forests (Head of forestry force), chief conservator of forests, central zone, and range officers and beat officers of Guwahati, DFO of East Kamrup, were present at the review meet.

The minister directed the PCCF (HoFF) to provide adequate force to take up raids in all suspected locations and check points to curb all kinds of illegal activities regarding the trade of natural resources.

Suklabaidya further directed the CCF (CAC) to take up issues of permit for development work by different departments like PWD and water resources.

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