Timber banned but no ban on firewood and planks movement : Is it justified ?

In December 1996, the Supreme Court of India made a landmark ruling after hearing a civil writ petition (TN Godavarman vs. the Union of India and others) with regard to tree felling, the SC verdict on the case included an interim order prohibiting logging without government permission.
The ban on the transportation of timber is for the protection of the forest. As forest should never be escalated in a specific political boundary as deforestation in the neighbouring country Myanmar will not only have serious impact to the climatic condition of the state but also to the world at large. So taking up measures to even ban transportation of timbers from neighbouring country Myanmar is also a much.
As the Indian Forest Act of 1927 empowered Indian state governments to enact rules regulating various aspects of forest management, rules differ from state to state. There are several national policies those working in the Indian forestry sector should be familiar with. Although not an exhaustive list, here are some relevant Indian environmental, forestry-related and trade laws and policies, among others.
Manipur government too passed Manipur Forest Act, 1971 to control deforestation and encroachment of forest areas for other purposes. Under the Act, aforestation programme, plantation of trees in all classes of forest land had been undertaken by the Forest department with funds from various sources.
Amidst strict order, there is no dearth for timber smuggling in the state. The more the arrest and seizure, the more is being smuggled through various route.
Strict vigilance is being seen taken up along Imphal – Moreh route by security forces including Assam Rifles and state police as well as the Forest department authority. Forest and Environment Minister Th. Shyamkumar, showed serious concern over the rise of the Timber smuggling in the state and he himself had led drive against timber business and personally led while seizing timbers being smuggled in the state.
The largest hauled was perhaps the seizure of over 17 truckloads of timbers from Phungyar assembly constituency on March 23 this year. As per report the trucks were registered vehicles of Assam and Nagaland which indicated that the Timbers were planning to smuggle outside the state.
There were various other cases which the Forest and Environment Minister personally led and seized truckloads of timber while trying to smuggled out of the state.
Yesterday too Assam Rifles troopers too caught 4 truckloads of timber being illegally transported from Joupi to Imphal in Chandel district.
Forest department too is also seriously handling the case of timber smuggling issue.
Well everything being taken up is for the cause of humanity and its love for the Mother Nature.
But the very fact that the people have been experiencing is that despite the huge expenditure on forest department for plantation of trees almost all Hills and the so called forest areas or reserved forest area are almost similar to barren land.
Timber ban is giving some hope for the future, but while targeting the Timber transportation illegally, cutting of fire woods have been completely forgotten. When one travelled from Pallel to Moreh, fire woods cut from the forest area will seen piled up at many places. Many times movement of the firewood being transported using trucks were seen but no action has been taken up for such fire wood.
Everyday Buses were used for transportation of planks from Moreh towards Imphal. Timbers movement is banned but the planks which were cut into pieces from Timber are not banned.
The initiative of the government in banning timber movement is appreciative work but that what is the use when fire woods and planks cut from timbers were allowed to move freely. The motive is not clear. Whether the government particularly the Forest department is following the Supreme Court ruling to protect the forest areas or is it for bans of Timber only leaving aside the fire woods and planks. If it is so than the measures being taken up By Environment and Forest Minister Th. Shyamkumar is not for protection of the forest but there is scepticism on the motives as it is an open secret that timber business involves huge amount money.
IT Editorial


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