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Resolve to check felling in forests

Silchar July 31: Cachar deputy commissioner Gokul Mohan Hazarika today expressed “grave concern” at the “unchecked felling of trees in the district’s reserved forests” by the “forest mafia”.

Hazarika’s comment comes in the wake of recovery of bodies of three men last night, who were allegedly engaged in illegally cutting of trees at Kantum village in Jirighat reserve forests in the district’s Lakhipur subdivision, 80km from here, on Tuesday night. The bodies were subsequently washed away in torrential rain.

Search operations were now on to locate two others who were engaged in cutting trees in the reserve forest.

The victims were identified as Ganesh Chhetry, Kartik Bauri and Sonu Chhetri.

The two others in the group whose bodies are yet to be found, have been identified as Bijoy Bauri and Sukumar Bhakta.

The three bodies were ferried across the Chiri river to Jirighat block headquarters last night, the police added. The dead and the missing belonged to the different areas in Lakhipur subdivision and Sonai block under the district.

The police said three of the recovered bodies were sent early this morning to Silchar Medical College and Hospital in Ghoonger, about 7km from this town.

Hazarika agreed that the forest department in Cachar district were short of forest staff as they were engaged in a cadastral land survey in the forest areas of Kumacherra and Baladahan in the district to determine their boundary as well as timber value.

The deputy commissioner resolved to weed out felling of trees in collaboration with the forest authorities, the police and other law enforcing agencies like the CRPF and IRB.

He said if necessary he would consider a ban on felling of trees.