palamu Tiger Reserve in the Daltanganj district of Bihar has lately become haven for smugglers trading in precious teak ( sagwan ) trees. On an average, trees worth Rs 30 lakh are felled every month and smuggled out of Palamu to places like Delhi, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Calcutta and Ranchi.
Officials statistics show a rise in this trend in the past two years. But the year 1997-98 has been disastrous: 349 trees were felled in 1997 and 10,006 trees were illegally cut in 1998, say forest officials. What is surprising is that no politician has ever raised this issue in the state assembly.
To curb politician-smuggler-forest official nexus, the State Wildlife Advisory Board has decided to set up a secret fund for informers. In the past five years, at least four informers have been killed by the smugglers in Palamu and no ex-gratia relief was provided to the affected families.
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