Kothagudem: The new Forest Safety Act and the slogan on forest safety “Forest Bachao and Forest Badao” are both being welcomed by environmentalists and nature lovers.
At the same time, these green lovers have asked the government to take some precautionary and safety measures while greening the forests so that those who depend on the forests for their livelihood, are also protected.
Carpenters are one such group. Not hitting the sustenance of carpenters is one of the suggestions made by them. The issue of carpenters should be addressed in the proposed new act, they said.
It is a fact that the smugglers in the guise of carpenters are cutting the trees in the reserve forests and making household furniture with it. They are also selling the wood to guileless carpenters at a premium. About 40 per cent of smugglers are making money in the guise of carpenters and farmers. The damage to the forest with this unlawful group is not a small one. Forest devastation done by this proxy carpenters, should be curtailed at any cost, state environmentalists.
But there are genuine carpenters, who are relying on the forests for their livelihood.
The recent police cum forest department raids had hit some of the genuine carpenters in the district. Mr Cherala Jabendrachari, Carpenters Association state president said, “Arresting real carpenters and accusing them of being smugglers is just not done. Thousands of carpenters, will be out on the streets if the forest officials do not show discretion and differentiate between the smugglers and carpenters.”
The forest department used to collect the fallen tree logs that were grounded due to rains, lightning and seizure from smugglers. Apart from this too, lakhs of cubic meters of wood come to the forest depot when the forest is cleared for the government projects.
As per the project report of Sitarama Lift Irrigation Project (SLIP), about 2.44 lakh trees of all varieties will be felled for the canals and pump houses in reserve forest and plain areas. This wood is brought in batches to the depots every day and the officials are facing difficulties to store the wood. The forest department used to sell this wood through auction and major saw mill contractors would bid in the auction.
At present, the government is giving bamboo to the carpenters and artisans at 50 per cent subsidy as part of providing employment in the habitations around forests.
Enugu Venkateswarlu, a green lover said, “These fallen teak logs can be given to the recognised carpenters on subsidy rates.
The carpenters will get employment and they do not need to buy teak from smugglers. The Carpenters Association should issue identity cards to the real carpenters to achieve their goal.”...