Roar for Tigers

Cops thwart illegal felling of Sheesham in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve

Cops thwart illegal felling of Sheesham in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve

Mar 28, 2015

PILIBHIT: A team of three police officials had a face-off with illegal fellers in Tatarganj village of Pilibhit district on receiving information that green Sheesham (Indian Rosewood) trees were being illegally felled and taken to Nepal on Monday. The Sheesham trees are protected under the Indian Forest Act and anyone who wants to chop down this type of tree needs to take permission from the forest department. A sub-inspector narrowly missed getting shot in the clash. Cops recovered two tractor trolleys loaded with Sheesham wood, a single barrel gun and other tools of felling. An FIR has been lodged against the jungle mafia. According to locals, this group had been involved in illegal felling since several years and had gradually devastated the forest in an area of around 250 acres.

-File Photo

SP J K Shahi told TOI that when the police team of sub-inspector and two constables reached the spot, they found six men carrying seven full grown Sheesham trees and two logs on tractor and trolleys. Station house officer Bhuvnesh Kumar Gautam told TOI that the recovered trees of Sheesham were 3.1 meters to 6 meters in length about up to 1.56 meters wide. Two giant logs of Sheesham were also recovered by police from trolleys. This stock of wood was being taken to Nepal, he added. On spotting the police team, the offenders opened fire. Promptly taking cover in a nearby sugarcane field, the police team retaliated, which resulted in the fellers fleeing to Nepal, leaving their tractors and trolleys behind. The clash took place at around 4:45am, and the offenders took advantage of the darkness to escape. The SO said Nepal has an unprecedented demand of Sheesham and this wood is supplied to Kathmandu due to extreme scarcity of Sheesham in Nepal, where it is used in bulk quantity by builders and fabricators. He said the police have lodged FIR against six illegal fellers who also have a long background of jungle crimes. The offenders were identified as Surjeet Singh, Palvinder Singh,Gurbaj Singh,Ram Singh Sukhdev Singh and Dharmendra Singh, all residents of village Tatarganj. The police booked them under section 147, 148, 149, 307, 504, 379, 411 IPC, section 26/41/42 of Indian Forest Act and section 25 of Arms Act. The Gram Pradhan of Tatarganj, Gurmej Singh said these illegal fellers had been felling the trees for many months and had been transporting the wood to Nepal but neither the police nor the forest department had taken action against them. He alleged that the offenders decimated Sheesham trees from around 250 acre area of forest. He claimed that he informed the authorities concerned of police as well as the forest department but they seemed to have nexus with the offenders. Gurmej said he not only informed the Kambojnagar police post about the crime but also communicated information to superintendent of police in apprehension of a compromise between the local police and forest staff and illegal fellers.



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