HP Police, forest deptt to jointly launch anti-mafia drive

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Shimla, Jan 29 (UNI) The police and forest authorities in Himachal Pradesh have decided to launch a special joint drive against forest mafia across the state.

A high-level coordination meeting chaired jointly by Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Dr Pankaj Khullar and Director General Police (DGP) Ashwani Kumar, decided that joint teams of police and the forest departments would organise surprise checks besides jointly investigating offences related to forest crime, official sources said.

The officials also expressed concern over the illegal cultivation of cannabis and opium in the remote forest areas, especially in Chamba, Kullu, Mandi and Shimla districts.

The officials decided that while the police department and Narcotic Control Bureau will share information with forest department, the staff of forest department will actively take steps to detect and destroy these illegal drug-yielding crops, for which assistance would be provided by the police department.

The officials also expressed concern over the pendency of investigations with police department and delay in disposal of forest produce and vehicles seized for involvement in forest offences.

It was decided that data pertaining to pendency would be compiled on war footing and necessary action would be taken accordingly.

The officials of both the departments agreed to enter into a formal institutional agreement for effective coordination in the field, for which a schedule of meetings will be chalked out shortly, the source added.

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