Patana: Timber mafia from Jharkhand has been on a looting spree in various remote pockets of Keonjhar with the forest department allegedly failing to act against the plunderers.
Now, Patana range has been on the target of the mafia who cart away sal trees even in broad daylight, it was alleged. Seizure of 24 logs of sal trees is a pointer to the ongoing timber smuggling in the area, locals noted.
According to reports, some timber mafia had tried to take away 24 sal trees near Goras village Thursday night.
Somehow, forest officials got wind of it and swung into action and seized 24 logs of sal trees.
The seized timbers have been brought to the DFO office in four tractors. The timbers were valued at Rs 1.5 lakh.
Locals said the forest department had got information about the mafia cutting trees during the day time. By the time forest officials reached the spot, mafia had already cut down 24 valuable trees.
Locals alleged that mafia has been carrying out such loot in broad-daylight at different places in the range, but the department has no clue about it.
It was said that mafia from Jharkhand are active in the area. Though they have been felling trees during the day time, the forest department is doing nothing.
The reserve forests have been losing its valuable trees every day. Locals and environmentalists expressed concern over the fast depletion of sal forests.
They alleged that inaction by the forest department has encouraged the mafia to go on looting trees.
The forest department and the administration should take effective step to rein in illegal timber smuggling, they noted, demanding formation of a special squad to catch the mafia and save forests.