Uttarakhand forest dept buys inflatable boat for river patrol along Nepal border
The boat will make it easier for the forest department to patrol two islands on the Sharda river that forms a natural boundary with Nepal in Uttarakhand.Updated: Oct 22, 2020, 19:00 IST
The Uttarakhand forest department has procured an inflatable boat for patrolling Sharda islands in Sharda river along Indo-Nepal border in Champawat district, forest officials said Thursday.
The Haldwani forest division for Sharda range will use the boat to patrol the Sharda river in which two big islands are situated.
“Forest personnel will conduct effective patrolling to avoid timber smuggling from this area,” said Kundan Kumar, divisional forest officer (DFO), Haldwani forest division in the Kumaon region.
Sharda river which is known as Mahakali in Nepal, forms a natural international border between India and Nepal in Uttarakhand.
In Tanakpur area of Champawat district some small forest areas fall in the midst of the river islands. Forest officials have to use Tanakpur barrage and Nepalese territory to reach such forest islands. Forest officials said usually, forest patrolling staff could reach Sharda island by road only after crossing Bramhadev village of Kanchanpur district of Nepal. Apart from this, forest personnel can reach the island only by crossing the Sharda river.
Since the international border has been sealed since March, it has thwarted regular patrolling of these islands and there is apprehension of illegal tree felling and timber smuggling,said an official.
Kumar said two small forest islands - forest island 57 and 58 and spread over 830 hectares - are located in the river and had been difficult to patrol.
“We have limited sources. Forest patrolling staff were using tyre tubes to reach the Sharda island and crossing the Sharda river. This puts their lives at risk all the time,” he said.
There is no outboard motor in the boat and is has to be rowed.
The officer also said that they were considering procuring a motor boat but maintenance and safety of the motor boat was a big challenge. “So, we decided to procure an inflatable boat. This boat can be deflated, moved around and stored easily,” said Kumar
Mahesh Singh Bisht, ranger, Sharda range, Tanakpur, said, “We are yet to use the raft but it will be very useful as well as comfortable for our staff to conduct round the year patrolling and monitoring of forests along the international border.”