The officials of forest department of Mawer forest range in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district have seized large quantity of illegal timber in Sanzipora forests on Wednesday.
Sources said that the forest team comprising Forest Protection Force (FPF) and Territorial Forest employees on the directions of DFO Langate Abdul Hameed carried out the raid at Compartment 47 in block Sanzipora forests and team seized 87-cft of illicit timber.
The locals alleged that department is hand in glove with timber smugglers and are responsible for the wanton loot of the green gold as they are giving safe passage for carrying the illicit timber and said the smuggling is rising day by day.
Local sources said that Mawer forests is witnessing ruthless deforestation as timber mafias are active in cutting prized Deodar and Kail trees in the forests.
Assistant Director Forest Protection Officer Division Handwara Naseer Ahmad said that acting on specific information, the FPF team carried out the raid and seized 83 cft of illegal timber.
However when contacted to Divisional Forest Officer Langate Abdul Hameed, he said that a manhunt has been launched to nab the culprits involved in timber smuggling and those involved in smuggling will face strict action as per law.
Asked about the alleged nexus between the employees of the forest department and the smugglers, he refuted the allegations leveled by the locals and said that he will look into the matter, saying that anybody found guilty will be dealt with strictly.