MPs urge clam­p­down on il­le­gal chain­saws

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­times.com

CHAIN­SAWS are mas­sacring our forests, MPs have com­plained. And now the gov­ern­ment is to take ac­tion against them. U Ohn Win, Union min­is­ter for nat­u­ral re­sources and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion, told par­lia­ment on July 29 that he would crack down on the il­le­gal use of chain­saws.

The min­is­ter took the Pyithu Hlut­taw floor af­ter hear­ing of the de­for­esta­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age caused in western Magwe Re­gion. “First there will be a pe­riod of pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, in which the Forestry Depart­ment will ex­plain the dam­age be­ing caused. Then we will ap­ply the full force of the law to il­le­gal chain­saw own­ers,” he told MPs.

MPs had com­plained that chain­saws im­ported from China and sold for a few hun­dred thou­sand ky­ats were a “weapon” by which il­le­gal log­gers caused de­for­esta­tion and robbed the state of rev­enue. “It used to take all day to chop down a tree 100 years old. Now, with a chain­saw, it takes just a few min­utes,” said Min­don town­ship MP Daw Khin Than Nu (NLD).

Ho­ma­lin MP U Myo Nyunt (NLD) said strict con­trol of chain­saws was re­quired be­cause they were mainly used to fa­cil­i­tate tim­ber smug­gling. En­tire forests had been cleared in a short space of time, he said.

Though chain­saws have been in use for some time, their use was reg­u­lated only as re­cently as June 2013, and the min­istry has per­mit­ted their le­gal use by le­git­i­mate tim­ber com­pa­nies.

There are over 150 reg­is­tered chain­saws in Magwe Re­gion. The min­is­ter said re­quests for ex­ten­sion of chain­saw reg­is­tra­tion per­mits would be care­fully re­viewed and il­le­gal hold­ers ar­rested.

Chain­saw abuse was only one of the rea­sons for wide­spread de­for­esta­tion, the min­is­ter said, call­ing on all gov­ern­ment min­istries and other or­gan­i­sa­tions, as well as local res­i­dents, to work with the gov­ern­ment in pro­tect­ing for­est re­sources. – Trans­la­tion by Emoon

‘Now, with a chain­saw, it takes just a few min­utes [to fell a 100-yearold tree].’

Daw Khin Than Nu NLD law­maker

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