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Felling hits Garo hills green cover

Tura, March 31: Garo hills is facing a challenge of depleted green cover, with a reserve forest in Williamnagar being the worst hit.

Almost 60 per cent of the forest cover at Baija has been cleared through felling of trees by smugglers.

The managing committee of Rongreng Baija today filed a complaint against rampant felling of trees with the range officer, Rongrenggre reserve forest, Williamnagar, in the East Garo Hills.

A member of the committee, Taison D. Shira, said, “Trucks loaded with timber go out of town daily but nobody cares.”

He said the timber is being sold in neighbouring Assam, especially Goalpara.

“We have taken up the issue several times but no action has been taken by the forest department,” said Shira.

In his letter to the department, Shira said, “The people of the locality are expressing unhappiness over the rampant felling of trees. If this continues, it will bring about permanent destruction of the environment.”

“Local residents of Baija village tell us that felling in the reserve forest is an issue of utmost importance,” he added.

“As it is a reserve forest, we have no say. The situation has turned worse in the last 10 years,” said Simseng Sangma, a senior citizen.

An activist of the Centre for Environmental Protection and Rural Development, Samgar Sangma, said, “The situation at Baija is really grim. We will work with the community to ask the department to take corrective measures.”