Sunday, February 25, 2024

Timber traders face export hurdle

With logging season underway, plantation farmers and timber traders are in for a hard time as the State government has reportedly failed to take any concrete step to facilitate the export of timbers to markets outside the State.
The government has so far, kept in cold storage the three-point memorandum of the Nagaland Timber Traders’ Union (NTTU) submitted to the Minister for Forest & Environment on September 4 last.
NTTU in the memorandum urged the minister to ensure that tree felling wagons for transporting timbers from trains, were allotted only to genuine local timber traders.
The union also demanded allocation of wagons to every district so that even small time plantation farmers and timber traders from interior districts get opportunity to sell their products at higher rate in other markets outside the State.
NTTU had also appealed the Forest minister and department to maintain only one Forest check gate in every district, to avoid undue harassment and excess taxation.
NTTU and its district representatives had also raised these issues during a joint meeting with Forest Department at Forest Training Institute, Dimapur, on August 6 last.
“Though the Forest minister and department had verbally assured to look into the grievances of the timber dealers, no action has been taken so far,” a timber trader said.
It is learnt that Dimapur and Peren districts alone have eight Forest check gates each, making it almost impossible for small time plantation farmers to transport their timber to Dimapur.
After reaching Dimapur too, these local farmers are forced to sell their timber to big time timber dealers, mostly non-locals, as the Forest department has so far not allotted wagons for other districts except Dimapur.
Local traders have aired their resentment against monopoly by some few people not directly involved with the laborious process of logging. Timber associations of Phek and Peren districts had also urged the Forest minister and Department to allocate railway wagons district-wise.
The two associations stated that the Forest Department had many years back encouraged farmers and villagers to take up tree plantation in every district, especially Phek and Peren district, as a means of livelihood.
But after their hard work and sweat for many years in tending to the plantations, the tree farmers are in a dilemma as they have no means to sell their products in markets outside the state.
The associations regretted that the Forest department and officials concerned had, so far, not addressed the genuine grievances of the plantation farmers –allocating wagons to every district.
Meanwhile, when contacted, NTTU president Kevise Angami told this reporter that the union would soon call on the Forest minister as well as chief minister, to press their demand.

More articles