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Illegal activities continue to ravage parts of WGH

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From Our Correspondent

Tura, Feb 2: Failure of the concerned authority to check on illegal quarries, crushers, and felling of timber even after being reported several times, the illegal activities have resurfaced once again in Gomaijhora, West Garo Hills.
It is said that despite being reported widely, unscrupulous businessmen from the plain belt continue to exploit nature along the village of Gomaijhora.
Earlier the matter had been reported following which authorities began to act leading to the closure of a few of the illegal quarries, crushers, and timber felling, however, with a lack of control from authorities to check, the same system has resurfaced, surprisingly, according to locals, just a few days after they were shut down.
“Each day at least 20-30 such trucks can be seen coming from various illegal quarries of Balujhora, Malijhora, and others. At least four illegal crushers operating without any form of license with the full knowledge of the authorities and many illegal timber vehicles can be seen moving about. This needs to be stopped with immediate effect,” said a local who did not wish to be named, over fear of reprisals.
Earlier illegal stone quarries were being run right in front of the office of the Forest Development Corporation of Meghalaya (FDCM). And the debris from the explosives would fall on the office of the FDCM which then reported the matter to the forest officials.
However, nothing happened despite their complaints.
A check gate (whose ownership no one is clear about) is now functioning as a collection centre for illegal taxes that are being collected from each vehicle carrying illegal goods (timber and stones), which has also been reported.
“None of the stone crushers have licenses to operate and these are big setups that are functional. Why can’t the forest department (GHADC or State) come and close the operations? Not only is the state losing revenue from these acts but our environment is being ravaged by a few greedy, unscrupulous people,” felt Phulbari social activist, PJ A Sangma.
When contacted on the matter, the GHADC forest office in Phulbari stated that they were racing against time as too many cases were being reported, including illegal brick clamps that have been mushrooming in the plain belt.
“We are trying to look at all complaints but are shorthanded right now. We will act once again on these illegal setups but we need more support,” felt CFO of Forests, GHADC, Rangkhu Sangma.
Meanwhile, state forest authorities could not be contacted for comment.

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