Four officials suspended

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The four forester officials from the Paro division based in Haa have been suspended from service on Thursday following a two-month investigation into the illegal timber racket in Haa.

According to Kuensel, a member of the investigating team said that they found that permits for 1,000 cubic feet (cft) as a truckload of timber had been issued, when a truck could carry only about 300 to 400 cft.

The forestry rules state that detailed measurement of timber has to be issued on the rural timber transit permit (RTTP). During the investigation, it was found that these details were not given for timber from the harvest site and issued only after the timber was sawn.

It was further revealed to the investigating team that, while there were no rural timber transit permit issued on logs, but the sawn timber had the permit, which indicates manipulation.

The joint director, Gopal Mahat said the foresters had not followed silviculture and allowed clear felling of trees.

Besides suspending four officials, the team also penalized 12 sawmill owners in the dzongkhag and levied more than Nu 900,000 in fines.

The Kuensel quoted the director Karma Dukpa that detailed investigations are still being carried out.