Asserting that the State government is not treating the alleged tree-felling inside Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) seriously, SDF spokesperson JB Darnal stated on December 19.
He told the media that there is reason to question the role and participation of powerful persons in this illicit timber smuggling given the carelessness displayed by the State administration and responsible minister.
Earlier this month, the State BJP made the allegation that illegal tree cutting and smuggling was "rampant" in the KNP area of Labdang, Yuksam-Tashiding, a West Sikkim constituency that is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Forest Department shared that some tree cutting did occur outside of the national park, in the KNP buffer zone, despite denying that it was "rampant."
It was informed that eight people had been apprehended and that some recovered timber.
The SDF spokesperson told the media that the Forest department's egregious carelessness allowed the illegal felling to occur inside the KNP.
Everyone is aware that authorization is required to cut down even a dead tree in a reserve forest, thus the Forest department cannot escape its duty by claiming that the cutting occurred in a buffer region, the man claimed.
Tree cutting in a national park that has been designated as a world heritage site, according to Darnal, is a serious concern. Unfortunately, he claimed, the State government is dismissing the case as a minor event and is not treating it seriously.
Darnal claims that roughly 50 prime trees were felled inside the KNP at a location that is about 500 meters from the closest location. He claimed the Forest Department, however, is claiming that it has only seized 235 ft of wood, which is far less than the actual timber that is obtained from 50 trees.
The SDF seeks a CBI investigation into the illegal felling of trees in the KNP and that they will also write with the National Green Tribunal about the issue because the State administration is not taking any action, according to Darnal.
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