Sec­ond cache of il­le­gal wood found on mil­i­tary com­pound

The Myanmar Times - - News - SI THU LWIN sithul­win@mm­times.com

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL­ISTS are de­mand­ing ac­tion af­ter the dis­cov­ery of a sec­ond cache of il­le­gally har­vested tim­ber on premises owned by the mil­i­tary. Troops re­port­edly cor­doned off the area fol­low­ing the sec­ond find.

On Au­gust 26, a raid con­ducted by the mil­i­tary, ac­com­pa­nied by of­fi­cials from the Na­tional League for Democ­racy, dis­cov­ered 161 tonnes of wood on the Tat­madaw Science and Tech­nol­ogy re­search com­pound No 745 lo­cated east of Ho Late vil­lage, Ban Thar vil­lage tract in Man­dalay Re­gion’s Pyin Oo Lwin town­ship. A sim­i­lar find, of 328 tonnes, had been made on July 4, ac­cord­ing to the town­ship forestry depart­ment.

Forestry depart­ment chief U My­ing Naing Oo told The Myan­mar Times on Au­gust 29, “The owner of the fire­wood we seized first was re­port­edly lo­cal U Htay Hlaing, so we as­sume he is also re­spon­si­ble for the sec­ond pile. We are pur­su­ing our in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

U Htay Hlaing had a per­mit to col­lect up to 60 tonnes a year for kitchen fuel at a forestry school. But both raids far ex­ceed the num­ber of logs al­lot­ted, and the sec­ond cache was hid­den, and in­cluded lux­ury hard­wood va­ri­eties such as Shorea ob­tusa and iron­wood, ac­cord­ing to res­i­dents.

The spokesper­son added that mil­i­tary of­fi­cers and NLD of­fi­cials took part in the in­spec­tion. “Now the mil­i­tary is go­ing to cor­don off the area,” he said.

“The mil­i­tary has filed a law­suit pur­suant to the find­ing of 328 tonnes of fire­wood un­der sec­tion 41(a) of the For­est Law. Ac­tion will also be taken in this case af­ter the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” he added.

The law pro­vides for a year in prison or a K10,000 fine, or both, for ex­tract­ing, mov­ing and un­law­ful pos­ses­sion of any for­est pro­duce.

The Au­gust 26 search also found logs hid­den be­neath a de­mol­ished sawmill. “We will re­lease fur­ther in­for­ma­tion af­ter the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and take ac­tion as re­quired,” said U Myint Naing Oo.

Ho Late vil­lage tract ad­min­is­tra­tor U Tun Win told The Myan­mar Times on Au­gust 29, of­fi­cials are con­tin­u­ing the search for any fur­ther il­le­gally har­vested wood.

“We found 18 logs, 4 or 5 feet in girth and 9ft long next to the old sawmill, and more logs un­der­neath. The com­bined team is still look­ing for more logs.”

Lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion group Sein Lan Pyin Oo Lwin con­demned the il­le­gal tim­ber ex­trac­tion and urged of­fi­cials to take ef­fec­tive ac­tions.

U Ko Ko Gyi, deputy chair of the group, called for bet­ter en­force­ment of the reg­u­la­tions on fire­wood.

– Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

Photo: Si Thu Lwin

Of­fi­cials seized 161 tonnes of wood, in­cluded lux­ury va­ri­eties, from a mil­i­tary re­search com­pound near Ho Late vil­lage in Pyin Oo Lwin town­ship.

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