Monday, March 4, 2024

Over 350 illegal sawmills operating in JH: Activist

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SHILLONG, Feb 11: A RTI activist has spilled the beans on proliferation of illegal saw mills in the twin districts of Jaintia Hills. It is reported that over 200 illegal saws mills are operating in West Jaintia Hills while more than 150 are in operating in East Jaintia Hills. These sawmills neither have permission nor license from the Environment and Forest Department.
Documents obtained through an RTI application reveal that around 64 illegal saw mills are operating in Sahsniang area alone. Maximum of the illegal saw mills are located at Khanduli, Sahsniang, Mookaiaw, Mookhep, Saphai, and Iooksi in West Jaintia Hills.
The RTI documents obtained from the District Forest Officer in charge of Jaintia Hills Territorial Division, reveal that only five saws mills are legally operating in the two districts.
These saw mills, located in the Khliehtyrshi Industrial Estate, include Dadak Shyrkon Saw cum Veneer Mill, M Lyngdoh Saw cum Veneer Mill, Blisina War Passah Saw cum Veneer Mill, Priyang Saw cum Veneer Mill and Evergreen Sawmill.
The RTI activist, who chose to remain anonymous, claimed that the illegal sawmills are engaged in blatant violation of rules and harvesting timber and other valuable forest resources day and night, posing a serious threat to the dwindling forest resources, bio-diversity and ecology in the two districts.
The activist claimed that despite submitting written complaints to the DFO and also to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) demanding the closure of these illegal sawmills, no action has been taken against them.
The activist further alleged that the check gates operated by the Forest department and those by the JHADC located at Mookyndur are collecting Rs 12,000 from each truck and allowing them to ferry timber without the mandatory transit passes.
He also claimed that there are allegations that police are also collecting money from these illegal sawmills.

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