Just a day before, the Forest Department issued figures of seizures of illicit timber in Kashmir carried out in the last year. As per the figures, over 18000 Cubic Feet of such timber has been recovered from the violators even as nearly 400 vehicles that were used in the commission of the crime have also been seized.
While the department needs to be appreciated for the work carried out by its ground staff, we would also take the opportunity to put out a few points related to the loot of Kashmir’s Green Gold.
The seizures that have been depicted in the figures might appear huge, but that ironically is the tip of an iceberg as there is more to it that needs to be unearthed and violators put behind bars.
Under the garb of the pandemic, initially, there have been numerous reports carried which stated that there was open loot of forests on even as the officials of the concerned department failed to act.
While exceptions are always there, there is no denying the fact that the corrupt elements present in the department facilitate the smuggling of illicit timber and such cases usually go unreported and no one comes to know about them.
There is a need to deal with the violators—who loot the forest resources of Kashmir—with an iron fist. The Forest Department needs to look within and streamline the internal enforcement mechanism to ensure that violators, whosoever, is booked, punished as per rules.
There always is more to what is visible to the naked eye, therefore, the enforcement needs to be increased; there is also a need for increased push to the measures that need to be taken to safeguard our Green Gold.