5 forest staffers suspended: Smuggling of teak in Pench

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Jun 2018 10:36:46



Our Correspondent 


Finally cracking the whip against five forest employees responsible for illegal transportation of teak wood from Pench Tiger Reserve’s Buffer zone, the park administration suspended two forest guards and three employees for helping in illegal transportation of teak wood from the forest area to city. The teak wood logs were being transported in government vehicle to cross the security check point safely. The government vehicle passed through without inspection at the check point and the vehicle safely moved out of the forest area.

According to information, five employees Deepak Mishra, Ashok Dhurvey, Jham Singh Songatra, one chowkidar and another forest employees were suspended from service by the park administration. The action against the five was the outcome of the initial investigations carried out in the illegal passing out of teak wood laden government vehicles loaded from Pench Tiger Reserve’s Buffer zone. The action taken by the park management caused panic in the Southern General Forest Range. The working of the forest range is now under scanner.

On June 12, a government vehicle laden with teak wood logs was intercepted at Kharitek Barrier. After being stopped, the staff carried out formalities, made panchnama and allowed the vehicle to pass through the barrier. Besides no case was registered in this connection allegedly due to pressure from officers.It is informed that the suspended employees did not seek permission from the competent officer (CCF Pench) before loading the teak wood logs in the government vehicle. The teak wood logs were transported in government vehicle (MP 02 AB 0466) to Seoni. The employees in the government vehicle did not have any transport permit nor any authority letter to transport the teak wood. The vehicle was intercepted at the barrier after the staffers, acting on information, and the illegal transportation of precious wood was exposed.

As the incident was essentially between the Forest Department, the matter was put in cold storage and only a panchnama was made and the vehicle was allowed to move. Also that the employees had promised that the TP of teak wood logs would be produced. But no such TP was produced even later. After the incident hit media headlines, action was taken in this connection. Superintendent Pench B P Tiwari was assigned with the responsibility as Investigation Officer in the case. In course of initial investigations the culpability of five employees came to surface. Tiwari, taking serious note of the issue, issued suspension orders of two forest guards and three other employees. Later the teak wood logs were handed over to park management.