A forest official has reportedly resigned from service after being threatened by a legislator for seizing a tractor-load of logs being transported illegally to Punjab. Officials said a probe has been ordered and the forester asked to withdraw his resignation.
Irate over the threats by legislator Rakesh Pathania, said to be a close confidant of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Deputy Ranger (Nurpur forest division) Baldev Krishan put in papers. He alleged that he got threatening and abused by legislator over phone when he seized a tractor loaded with 13 logs of shisham (Indian rosewood) on the night of March 22.
He said the wood was being transported from Nurpur town to Punjab without permit.
Under the Himachal Pradesh Land Preservation Act of 1978, the forest department permission is mandatory for transporting wood. Officials of the forest department said pressure has been built on Krishan to withdraw his resignation as it might be an embarrassment for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. They said the people involved in transporting the wood were closely associated with the legislator.
Divisional Forest Officer J.C. Katoch said that Krishan’s resignation has not been accepted and added that an inquiry has been ordered as the wood was being transported without permit.