Multanis denuding Kawal tiger sanctuary
They carry sharp and lethal weapons. They do not think twice to attack anybody if they are accosted. They are ferocious in their activity. They smuggle valuable teak timber from Kawal tiger sanctuary. The Forest officials are helpless without guns and the police remain mute spectators due to political pressure.
They drive away Forest officials with lethal weapons
Adilabad: They carry sharp and lethal weapons. They do not think twice to attack anybody if they are accosted. They are ferocious in their activity. They smuggle valuable teak timber from Kawal tiger sanctuary. The Forest officials are helpless without guns and the police remain mute spectators due to political pressure.
They are none other than Multanis, who settled at Gundala, Keshapatnam, Yellammaguda and Jogipet villages of Sirikonda mandal. These Multanis engage around 500 youth to fell teak trees indiscriminately in the forests of Pastula Loddi, Dayyala Loddi, and Itikkyala in Pembi mandal of Nirmal district and denuding the thick forest.
As a result, the once thick forests have become almost plains. Everyday at least 200 bullock carts carry teak logs from the deep forest to their den from where they would be transported to Nizamabad on trucks.
The Forest officials estimate that these Multanis smuggle teak timber worth Rs 10 lakh every day.
Though it is an open secret, the Forest officials are afraid of stopping these smugglers from taking away timber from the forest. There have been instances where the Forest officials were lethally attacked with sharp weapons.
They have learnt to silently take whatever they are offered and turn Nelson’s eye. Forest officer Sharif, who attempted to stop smuggling of teak timber from Ichhoda mandal, was seriously injured. The police, who registered a criminal case against the Multanis, did not take any action further due to the alleged political interference. The police did not arrest a single person in that case due to the interference of the local MLA, it is alleged.
Between 2016 and May 2017, the Forest officials registered 74 criminal cases of smuggling against Multanis in the Kawal Buffer zone. They had even seized timber worth Rs 10.36 lakh during the last six months seizing four vehicles. Likewise, in the Kavval tiger zone, the officials seized Rs 34.48 lakh worth timber with eight vehicles and registered 45 cases.
In spite of these interventions, the Forest officials are not in a position to stop Multanis from smuggling team timber. There were instances, where Multanis even attacked the police force when they were stopped.
Potanna, a local resident, expressed concern over the denuding of Kavval tiger zone. Some others said that the government should at least deploy a police battalion to stop smuggling. Otherwise, the whole tiger zone would be completely denuded, they warn.
The Forest officials appeal to the government to provide them with arms to effectively control the Multani smuggling of teak timber.