ZPM alleges illegal katta tree trade by officials

SUNPURA, Sep 20: Reports of massive destruction of katta trees and its illegal trade in the Paya Reserve Forest under Lohit Forest Division at Sunpura have surfaced, with forest and police officials allegedly involved in the racket.
In a communiqué, Sunpura ZPM Bikeso Tega alleged that every day, hundreds of Katta trees are felled illegitimately, while every night, about 5 to 10 trucks laden with these illegally felled logs pass through the Paya Forest Gate and the Sunpura Police Check Post to be sold outside Arunachal.
Claiming that this illegal trade is carried out right under the nose of the forest officials, the ZPM went on to allege that the forest officials and police are in collusion with some local leaders and timber mafias in Assam.
“They are all engaged in this nefarious activity and denuding the lush katta plantation of the region”, the ZPM added.
Paya Reserve Forest is one of the important reserve forests under Lohit Forest Division. A few years earlier, the Department of Environment and Forest planted katta saplings in several hectares of land under the reserve forest. The katta plantation aids the people of the area as it stands as a shield for Sunpura Circle which is often flooded by the Balijan River.
The katta trees which were planted on both the banks of the Balijan River have been depleted now by illegal logging and Tega feared that it would lead to heavy flooding in the circle in the near future.
The katta trees also have high commercial value and are in great demand.
‘This has to be stopped and those officials involved in the illegal trade of the katta trees should be punished, Tega said and wrote to the Lohit Deputy Commissioner demanding necessary steps to prevent deforestation of the Paya Reserve Forest.