Authorities probe illegal tree felling in Hansposa community forest

Bibek Bibas Regmi 09 Jun 2024
Authorities probe illegal tree felling in Hansposa community forest

ITAHARI: The Sub-Division Forest Office, Tarahara, has initiated a probe after trees were felled in the Hansposa Community Forest of the Charkoshe Jhadi in Itahari-20 to make a pond.

The Chure Resilient Project had allocated a budget of Rs 500,000 for the Hansposa Community Forest Group to build a waterhole for birds and animals. The community forest used the funds to dig the pond.

Dinesh Yadav, a forest officer at the Tarahara Sub-Division Forest Office, said that officials from the community forest users group had expressed commitment to not cutting down even a single tree while making the pond. “But they felled 55 trees, including saplings. This violates the Forest Act,” Yadav said. “We will initiate the necessary legal action against the wrongdoers.”

According to Yadav, officials from the community forest users group, including acting president Goma Bishwakarma, were involved in the act.

Bishwakarma stated that some trees were damaged while they were digging the pond using an excavator. “We acknowledge negligence on our part. But we did not intentionally cut down the trees,” she added.

Dharmananda Yadav, a forest officer with the Sunsari District Forest Office, said that those involved in cutting the trees would be prosecuted. “We have already begun questioning officials of the community forest users group,” he said. “Some officials, including acting president Bishwakarma, have been taken into custody.” He said they would be prosecuted under the Forest Act, 2019.

Locals say the incident occurred last week while Mahendra Giri, the president of the community forest users group, was out of the country.

Earlier in March, the forest office investigated an incident of timber smuggling from the community forest.

Locals say forest areas are being destroyed by the people assigned to conserve them. “People scramble to get elected to the community forest users group but are not doing anything to preserve the forest,” a member of the Hansposa Community Forest said. “The community forest users group and the Sub-Division Forest Office are also not doing anything to control the felling of trees and timber smuggling.”

Published On: 09 Jun 2024


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