STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Spokesperson and Chairperson of Waqf Development Committee of Ministry of Minority Affairs, Dr Darakhshan Andrabi on Thursday appealed to the Union Territory Administration to take immediate and stern measures to stop the loot of forest wealth throughout the length and breadth of J&K. “We lost our green wealth in early nineties when in an organised manner some very sick people managed the loot of our forests without any fear of deterrence, resulting in great loss to our forests. Now again, availing the advantage of corona crisis, this gang of looters has got re-activated throughout Jammu and Kashmir and they are cutting trees, smuggling around without any fear of action against them,” said Dr Darakhshan. She said that during the past one month many such cases surfaced throughout J&K where some honest forest officers and guards tried to stop these smugglers but they were beaten to the pulp. “Forest protection mechanism is too weak in J&K. Forestry staff is not equipped with suitable safety tools and operational systems while smugglers are well organised and well equipped. In the present tough times, our police forces are busy in management of lockdowns and restrictions and forest staff doesn’t get needed protection to operate against the looters,” said BJP Spokesperson. She appealed to the Lieutenant Governor to issue orders for booking these smugglers and looters under Disaster Management Act so that this broad day light loot is stopped. “The Governor administration should issue orders to the Police Department and the Deputy Commissioners to devise a priority mechanism to deal with this very serious problem. We cannot allow and afford to give free passage to the looters of our green gold in the garb of the pandemic crisis” said Dr Andrabi. She expressed her surprise over the silence of the public and the local political and social representatives over the issue. “By closing our eyes to such a grave issue, we all are becoming part of the crime. We need to come out of our shells and help in saving our forests, which are our guarantors of our future,” said Darakhshan.
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