NASHIK: In spite of the crackdown on the smuggling of khair and teakwood, the wood mafia continues to fell and illegally transport logs of timber in the Umbarthan Forest Reserve. Barda, Chinchmal, Umbarpada, Pimpalsond, Songir, Pangarne, Udmal, Ranjune, Darapada, Kelipada, Hadkaichond, Vadpada, Chinchle are part of Umbarthan forest reserve in the border area of Gujarat.
Since last five to seven years, teak and khair woods had been smuggled by the wood mafia sold at a give-away price. As a result, teak trees are now became rare in this forest reserve. Two days ago, the forest department had received secret information that the theft of timber was taking place in the forest areas of Barda, Chinchmal, Umberpada, Pimpalsond and Songir. Around midnight, thieves cut down a Khair tree near Umbarpada, Tivasachi Mali and dragged it away.
Two trees have been found cut down. The forest dwellers allege that there is a broker in the area who buys and smuggle khaira wood. They have demanded that the forest department should crack down against such illegal activities. A few months back, a teak smuggler from Jahagir village in Gujarat was arrested.
When left at home, he died a few days later. This act of smuggling has been a game of mutual understanding between the forest department and the wood mafias for many years, allege the dwellers. However, the forest department has not been able to catch the sumgglers and put a permanent break on smuggling.
In the meantime, forest officials Hari Chavan, Tushar Bhoye, Akshay Padvi, Shevanti Gaikwad, Pundalik Raut and forest labourer Kamadi from Umbarthan forest reserve rushed to the spot and inspected the felled trees. Further investigation is being carried out by the officials and employees of the forest department.