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Assam: Timber smuggler seriously injured in firing with forest guards in Dehing-Patkai National Park

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Guwahati, Sept 19: A timber smuggler was seriously injured after Forest Department officials opened fired at the armed timber smuggler at Bashabnala under Hokunguri range in eastern Assam’s Dehing-Patkai National Park on Monday.

Hokunguri range comes under Dibrugarh Forest Division and the place has been an easy point for the timber smugglers to enter and cut down trees. The trees which are mostly chopped down by timber smugglers in Dehing-Patkai National Park are- Hollang, Hollock, Mekai, Uriyam, Bher etc.

According to sources, a group of timber smugglers in broad daylight entered Dehing-Patkai National Park on Monday to chop tress with saw machines.

“The forest officials got the information about the presence of the timber smugglers who had come over from Arunachal Pradesh side to chop tress. The forest team went in search of them and a firing incident took place between smugglers and forest officials. During the firing, one timber smuggler got seriously injured,” said a source.

Division Forest Officer (DFO) BV Sandeep confirmed the firing incident between forest guards and timber smugglers on Monday.

“We have come to know that one timber smuggler was seriously injured during the firing. The illegal smugglers came from Arunachal side to chop trees in Dehing-Patkai National Park. The incident occurred at Bashabnala which is few kilometres away from Arunachal Pradesh border. Many plywood factories are set up on Arunachal’s side and the smugglers enter the National Park to cut down trees,” the DFO said.

The official officials recovered one riffle and one mobile phone from the site of the firing incident.

“We cannot confirm about the death of the smuggler because they have taken him along with them. He was seriously injured,” Sandeep further added.

Sources said due to mushrooming of saw mills in Arunachal Pradesh, the timber smugglers with machines enter Dehing-Patkai to chop valuable trees.

“Most of the times, the timber smugglers use elephant to transport the logs. Basabnalla falls under Assam-Arunachal border where most of crime takes place,” said a source.

Elephant Habitat

The 234.26-sq. km Dihing Patkai straddling eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts is a major elephant habitat and 310 species of butterflies have been recorded there. The park has 47 species each of reptiles and mammals, including the tiger and clouded leopard.

Dihing Patkai, in focus a year ago for illegal coal mining in the vicinity, encompasses the erstwhile Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, the Jeypore Reserve Forest and the western block of the Upper Dihing Reserve Forest.

In 2021 Dehing-Patkai was declared as the seventh National Park of Assam.

Also Read: Assam: Students of NIT Silchar write letter to President Murmu over student’s suicide

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