In a strategic move to combat the smuggling of timber from Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has issued directions to integrate forest department outposts with police outposts.
Presiding over a meeting of the Forest Department here today, the Chief Minister emphasized the installation of advanced technology, including CCTV surveillance, at these integrated outposts in order to curb the smuggling of timber.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that timber smuggling results in revenue loss for the state government and the forest department should take proactive measures to restrain the illegal trade.
By integrating forest and police outposts, enhanced surveillance and determined efforts against timber thievery were expected, he said.
The forests of Himachal serve as the lungs of North India, as it provide fresh air and oxygen in abundance, with trees being highly valuable assets to the state, he said.
However, the recent torrential rains have caused significant damage to these trees, resulting in immense losses. He emphasized the importance of the forest department promptly removing the uprooted trees from the forest land and ensuring their proper disposal.
The Chief Minister also reviewed the working plans for harvesting Khair Trees across five forest divisions within the state. He asked the Forest Department to work on it promptly and execute the same in a time-bound manner, particularly after the conclusion of the rainy season.
The Supreme Court has granted permission for silviculture felling of Khair trees in five forest divisions, namely Una, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Nalagarh, and Kutlaihar, in May this year, he added.
Chief Secretary Prabodh Saxena, Principal Secretary Amandeep Garg, Secretary Home Dr. Abhishek Jain, Secretary Law Sharad Lagwal, PCCF (HOFF) Rajeev Kumar and other senior officers were present in the meeting.