- The mills are being operated with timber supplied mainly from the Rongrengre and Rongjeng Forest
- These mills don’t even try to hide their operations
Tura: Many illegal mills allegedly found running during a recent visit to the village of Chibinang, close to the town of Phulbari in West Garo Hills.
According to sources, there are more than 15 such illegal sawmills. One Mushtaq Ali of Chibinang is operating one. The mills are being operated with timber supplied mainly from the Rongrengre and Rongjeng Forest Reserve in East Garo Hills. Timber is also obtained from other locally known places with the GHADC check gate at Chibinang playing an active role in allowing for the illegal smuggling of timber.
These mills don’t even try to hide their operations. They function during the day with timber collected illegally during the night. You can understand the impact it has on the environment when 15 such units work in tandem, and that too in such close proximity, with all sections working to provide protection to these illegal units, an official said.
It may be mentioned that illegal timber felling has been a major cause for concern for environmentalists in Garo and Khasi Hills with very little being done to control the menace.
According to the president of CEPARD SR Sangma, Khasi Hills has been allowing for illegal logging for generations and with Garo Hills also catching up, a day will come when we face a Delhi like a situation in Garo Hills. The authorities have to act on this before we land up in trouble.