21st Nov 2017 10:11:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

This daily’s report which highlighted the problems faced by the Forest officials in East Siang district at the hands of a much ‘well-equipped’ timber mafia brings to the fore the real ground realities the state must address to save its valuable forests.

Inter-state timber mafia has been active in the Assam-Arunachal boundary for a long time.

The Supreme Court banned logging in the forests across the country in 1996 through a momentous edict. But today, although the ban remains in place, it is a commonly acknowledged fact that — what was once legal has gone underground. Saw mills have moved from the roadside into the deep forests. What was earlier a means of revenue for individuals and the government has now become concentrated in the hands of a few unscrupulous people.

Today, the verdant hills Arunachal including Reserved Forests are under tremendous strain. Encroachment, Jhumming, logging etc. are rampant at times carried out covertly but on most occasions under the nose of authorities who feign ignorance or are actually helpless to stop it.

Arunachal Pradesh, a land known for its varied flora and fauna species should have its own Forest Act to protect it. The state despite having the largest varieties of flora and fauna still doesn’t have its own Forest Act and has been following AssamForest Regulation Act, 1891 for administration of its forests. The need for an Act for the law relating to consolidation, management and sustainable use and conservation of forests in Arunachal Pradesh has been felt for a long time.

The need for Forest Act is warranted as the indigenous tribal population has been intricately connected and dependent on forests for sustenance. Rural communities especially need forests for living a healthy and dignified existence.At the same time, the state does need to do a balancing act in terms of safeguarding the amazing biodiversity here.

Since the state is home to more than 8700 species of plant life in its forests and as many animals, it is extremely important to protect forests from the ills of hunting, illegal timber operations and indiscriminate Jhum cultivation.

As reported, the forest and environment department has already prepared a draft of the Act and awaiting government approval. This must be taken on priority to empower the forest and environment department which protects 10,185.40 sq km or the 15% of the totalforest cover in the state to curb illegal practices within its jurisdiction.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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