Nearly 400 trees cut illegally in Mangar, allege locals
Residents of Mangal village have alleged that over the last month and a half, at least 400 mesquite trees have been cut in the Mangar Bani forest along the Gurugram-Faridabad highway. Mangar forest, which falls in the Arvallis, is protected under the Punjab Land Preservation Act.
Mesquite is the common name for several plants in the genus Prosopis, which contains over 40 species of small leguminous trees. They are native to the southwestern US and Mexico.
During a visit to the forest, HT saw the remains of a number of mesquite trees. At least 40 fresh mesquite tree stumps were found on two locations.
Local conservationists alleged 150-odd trees have been illegally felled within the Gurugram forest area, while the remaining 250-odd ones were cut in Faridabad.
According to Sunil Harsana, a conservationist from Mangar village, such incidents have risen since June 2017, after the forest department went through an administrative reshuffling. “Before that, there was a lull in tree cutting for about three or four years,” said Harsana. He added that the timber mafia has increased activities in the region over the last two months.
“Mesquite wood is dense and burns slow, which makes it a viable source for charcoal. Woodcutters will usually enter the forest late evening to scout for trees. Once a spot has been identified, the cutting goes on till late night and the wood is then smuggled out after dark,” Harsana said. The forest department had stationed three to four check-posts within the forest to prevent unlawful activities, but they were removed in January this year.
Vijay, a resident from Mangar village, said the timber is taken to villages in Mewat, where it is burned for charcoal and stored in godowns until winter, when the demand for coal rises.
Deepak Nanda, District Forest Officer, Gurugram, did not offer any comments, saying the Mangar forest falls in the Faridabad forest department’s jurisdiction. The District Forest Officer of Faridabad, RS Dhull, did not reply to calls and messages by HT.