NTTU demands removal of Nagaland Forest Minister

DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 20 (MExN): The Nagaland Timber Traders’ Union (NTTU) and its district units have once again demanded the “removal/replacement” of the Nagaland Forest Minister, since according to them, “the genuine Naga tree farmers and plantation owners continue to groan under his corrupt practices.”

A press note from the NTTU President and timber trader union Presidents of Dimapur, Kohima, Phek and Peren alleged that the “present Forest minister is selling tree felling wagons at the rate of Rs. 3 lakhs (repeat Rs. 3 lakhs) per wagon, thereby depriving the Naga tree farmers and plantation owners of their rights.”

They further pulled up the DFO Dimapur for allegedly “collecting money (selling of tree felling wagons) on behalf of the Forest minister.” They added that the “DFO handed over the collected money to the minister on September 18, 2013.” “The DFO is also charging Rs. 10,000 (ten thousand) per wagon as his personal commission,” the unions alleged. The unions questioned as to why the Nagaland state government is keeping silent, “even when it is fully aware of the corruption and malpractices of the Forest minister.”

At present, the unions informed, that the rate of timber/wood, which should be sold at Rs.700 per cft, is being sold at one Rs. 380 per cft “due to the heavy commission on wagons imposed by the Forest minister.” This leaves the local tree farmers and timber traders with little room for profit, according to the unions. As such, they demanded that the government remove or replace the Forest minister “before things go out of hand.”