More forest pickets established near Himachal border from Bhaderwah side

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To tighten noose around the timber mafia active on the border of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, especially in the Bhaderwah belt , the Forest Department Bhaderwah have chalked out a plan and patrolling has been intensified to prevent timber smuggling.These words are said by Divisional Forest Officer Bhaderwah T B Singh while addressing a press conference here today . He said protection mechanism has been strengthened particularly in Padri forest area on Jammu and Kashmir and HP border and said squads have been formed to intensify patrolling and more pickets are established . “We have formed two groups headed by forest officials and provided them with lights to help them in patrolling even during night on border area near Himachal Pradesh . Forest guards and watchers are part of the group. Work of the squads is being regularly monitored,” said DFO Bhaderwah T B Singh . He also said after felling Deodar and other Cheer trees, the mafia from HP make planks and sleepers and transport the wood on motorcycles to Chamba and other parts of the HP .He said smuggling has always been there but I think for last couple of years we have reduced the smuggling to almost 95 percent . In the past one year forest officials have foiled many attempts of timber mafia and seized one tree and one Chain saw machine from smugglers , he informed adding that the involvement of forest department of both the states was a must to tackling cross-border smuggling of the timber . Some startling facts came to light during the meeting. The Department is ill-equipped to curb smuggling and faces shortage of adequate vehicles for patrolling. In addition, it doesn’t have mobile phone or walky-talky sets to communicate, he said .

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