Williamnagar deforestation: Destructive business and Livelihood option

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Front Page

Staff Reporter
Williamnagar, March 17: With the environment being a fundamental issue for most people within the world, the sad state of forest affairs within Williamnagar has left a lot of people concerned. Indiscriminate cutting of trees and removal of complete forests has made the area barren and also led to the drying of streams. The situation has become precarious even within a few kilometers from Williamnagar itself, where illegal cutting down of trees have wiped out complete reserve forest lands.

The alarming situation has moved a lot of people within Williamnagar itself, with the Nokma Council as well as the Meghalaya Rural Development Agency (MRDA) along with other NGOs like the GSU and FKJGP sitting up and taking notice. These organizations have demanded explanations from the Forest Officers for the current scenario as well as to ensure that the same is not repeated in the future.
The Forest Office though stated that fear is what compels them to keep mum on the issue.
The Forest Officers claimed that militants have been behind the activity and that these officers have been threatened at gun point when they asked the locals to stopping illegal felling of trees.
There was also an allegation that a grenade was hurled at the Forest Office, after which the Chief Forest Officer took a transfer. The situation has been the same ever since.
The NGOs and Nokma council have put a lot of the blame on the lack of awareness and the lack of alternative methods of livelihood. With most trees within the reserve fetching a good market price due to the quality of the wood, it seems the practice is doomed to continue. The GSU president further said that the people too were unwilling to help out and this made rectification even more difficult.
All is not lost however as the NGOs along with the Nokma Council have decided to plant saplings where trees have been uprooted so that the environment can regenerate itself. They have also decided to care for the planted saplings to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated.
In the meantime, the search for an alternative which will cure the long practiced ill is in process.


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