‘UN’s forest protection scheme fails miserably’

The State Government had received `2 crore under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Ministry of Forest and Environment to execute self-employment schemes for forest-dwellers in protecting reserve forests from timber smugglers with support of the local people.

The programme was implemented in the Brahmapur Forest Division at Brahmapur, Sambalpur Forest Division at Sambalpur and Khurda Forest Division at Banpurt in the year 2008-09.

Sources said training and exposure visit programmes, construction of reservoirs, wells etc were carried out and also seeds were supplied for agriculture besides many other programmes taken up for the people. But due to drafting of impractical scheme, it failed miserably, the sources alleged.

Stating that the people of the concerned localities could not stop timber smuggling, the sources informed that even though they were aware about many incidents of smuggling, they would not inform about it to the Forest department as they were benefited by the smugglers.

Though the Forest department is claiming success in the programme, the objective of the programme was a casualty, the sources said.

The sources found that during the last two years, the Forest department seized many timbers from smugglers from the project areas and the seizures are worth about `15 crore while the timbers that could not be seized may be worth about `50 crore.

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