TURA, Aug 04: Acting on a tip off of the presence and operation of illegal saw mills in the district of North Garo Hills (NGH), a team comprising the district administration, NGH and EGH (territorial) and police from the district on has cracked down on the menace while also seizing a lot of machinery from the saw mills in question.
The crackdown took place on August 3.
A team of three parties of the Special Task Force simultaneously swooped down on the illegal sawmills in Resubelapara-Mendipather Block and Bajendoba Block.
According to sources, the tip off led to the saw mill operators hiding the materials from the saw mills in orchards and residential areas. However the task force was able to locate the hidden equipments and seize them.
6 saw mills, one in Resubelpara, one in Bajengdoba and 4 in Mendipather were seized and shut down.
Interestingly, one team posted at Nalbari came under attack from the illegal saw mill operators and a case was filed against the group responsible for the attack at Mendipathar PS with the attackers being booked under attempt to murder as well as under obstruction of public servants from discharging their duties.
Cases against the saw mills have been made under Sec 40, 41 of the Meghalaya Forest Regulation (Application and Amendment) Act, 1973.
The state forest cover has been greatly reduced due to continuing acts of deforestation by miscreants. While Garo Hills has been severely affected by these illegal acts, West Khasi Hills has literally lost all its green cover as rampant tree felling has been going on right under the noses of authorities.
Local sources from WKH have confirmed at least about 200 timber trucks moving into neighbouring Assam from the district every night.
For West Garo Hills, the plain belt, including the areas around Phulbari and Chibinang (close to the Assam border) has seen the mushrooming of a huge number of saw mills – all of which allegedly are running despite a ban against them.