Itanagar: Jorja Tana, a green crusader from Arunachal Pradesh who has been fighting against illegal logging for three years, has filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking a halt to large-scale illegal felling of trees in Papum Reserve Forest (PRF), Seijosa and Dissing Paso circle of Kelong forest division in the state.
Tana also filed a complaint against the divisional forest officer (DFO) of Kelong and an FIR against the forest department, besides submitting a representation to state governor BD Mishra over the issue.
While speaking with EastMojo, Tana said that timber mafia from the area has been threatening him consistently asking him not to interfere in the illegal logging and mining in the district.
Raising concern over the issue, Tana said that deforestation has spread to Tawang, Papum Pare, East Siang, Changlang, Pakke-Kessang and other districts of the state.
Tana said that the use of mechanised chainsaw to cut the trees for transportation has affected the hornbill nests in the area. The large birds are particularly vulnerable during their breeding season due to such illegal felling.
Tana further went on to question the NGT, seeking a factual report on the issue from the DFO of Kelong Reserve Forest. “NGT has its system, but how can one believe an officer under whose authority all the illegal works are being carried out? He will with no doubt submit a clean report. Besides, I have submitted all the proof to substantiate my claim of illegal logging,” he said.
Tana also alleged that the Kelong DFO gave permission to many people from outside for carrying out mining within the state. “Despite the mining guidelines in the state for not allowing any second party for extracting boulders, most of the crusher units deployed are from Assam, Kolkata and other states,” Tana said.
He added that the state government approved a notified quarry a little more than 10 km inside the Arunachal-Assam interstate boundary but the DFO gave permit to an Assam crusher unit within 100 metres of the interstate boundary, knowing that the locals would not allow them to work freely and when any action is initiated they can flee from the area.
Tana further revealed that the people who were threatening him in connection with illegal logging are from the Bodo community. Earlier, he had been threatened by timber mafia at the Seijosa petrol depot and Ithakola (Assam) check gate.