Bhaderwah (Jammu-Kashmir), Feb.7 (ANI): Even as the issue of climate change has alarmed countries across the world and serious efforts are on to increase green cover everywhere, local authorities in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district are ignoring the widespread felling of trees.
Located at a height of 6,500 feet, the Bhaderwah region of Doda is a picturesque valley, with thick coniferous forests. But on all sides, illegal deforestation by the timber mafia is depleting forest cover.
Local people say deforestation is taking place with the connivance of forest department officials.
The labourers, who are involved in the felling of trees, have unhesitatingly revealed that bribes are being paid to local forest officials.
"We will take it to Doda for selling. (Q. The forest officials don't prevent you?) Why should they, they get paid," Imtiyaz Bhatt, a tree feller.
Senior officials, however, say they are aware and would prosecute those caught red-handed.
"Whenever we receive any information from locals about the location where such operations are going on, we will take strict action against anyone caught, even if it is a forest official," said Bashir Ahmed, Divisional Forest Officer.
Trees, including pines and cedars, are among the hundreds of the trees that have been felled by the timber mafia here so far. (ANI)