Nuagaon: Forest cover in various parts under Mahipur range in Nayagarh has been fast depleting, thanks to rampant timber smuggling and operation of brick kilns, as per a report.
The report added that the laid back attitude of the Forest department officials has rather encouraged the mafia and brick kiln owners to plunder the valuable sylvan resources in Brahmanidevi forest.
Crores of rupees are being spent on afforestation and regeneration of forests on fallow land, but lack of protection measures has made the government efforts futile.
Valuable trees are being felled and carted away in broad daylight. Locals are using forest wood to burn bricks. Brick making units have mushroomed around the forest, because the owners easily find wood from forest to burn the bricks. Such units are contributing to air pollution, apart from raising temperature in the region.
As per norms, anyone interested in making bricks is required to take permission of the Revenue and Forest departments. However, this involves huge costs in terms of environmental pollution, though it fetches revenue for the local administration.
As for timber smuggling and depleting forest cover, range officer Sushant Kumar Swain said, “The department is trying its best to protect forests. Brick kilns using forest wood will be seized and action will be taken against those involved in such illegal activities.”