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Reserve glare on rail officials

Ranchi, Dec. 8: The Palamau Tiger Reserve authorities are all set to showcause senior officials of Dhanbad railway division and lodge FIRs against them allegedly for their lack of cooperation in curbing timber smuggling from the protected forest.

On Sunday, senior reserve officials told The Telegraph that the forest department was now considering stringent punitive measures against “rogue” railway mandarins, who had been ignoring repeated pleas to check illegal ferrying of forest items in trains.

Premjit Anand, divisional forest officer (core area), PTR, conceded. “On the one hand, we are trying all our best to stop smuggling of timber, on the other hand, the railways aren’t cooperating with us, despite repeated requests. Now, the only option left for us is to file complaints against railway officials. We will get on the job from tomorrow,” he told The Telegraph.

Anand added FIRs would be lodged against DRM, ADRM, senior officials of RPF and other employees of the Dhanbad division.

According to senior reserve officials, the move comes following the seizure of two truckloads of pole size timber among others from a couple of trains passing through Ketchki railway station yesterday.

DFO Anand said this was not the first time when the department officials seized illegal forest items from trains running under the Dhanbad division.

On November 3, many poaching traps, illegal logs were seized following raids at Ketchi railway station.

“We wrote to them, seeking their cooperation to curb loading of illegal consignments in trains, but to no avail. When we questioned RPF officials, they said that those people had valid tickets. It was a weird argument. So, in that case, anyone can book a seat or space in train and carry weapons?” he said.