As per the residents of Mangal village, around 400 mesquite trees have been cut in last one month and a half in the Mangar Bani region alongside Gurgaon-Faridabad highway. The area has a forest alongside Aravallis range and it is also protected under the Punjab Land Preservation Act.
When the officials tried to crosscheck the claims, they found it to be true. They confirmed that a large number of mesquite trees have been cut recently. At two locations, around 40 fresh mesquite tree stumps were found.
According to local conservationists, 150 mesquite trees have been illegally cut in the Gurugram forest area whereas 250 other mesquite trees have been cut in Faridabad region.
Sunil Harsana, a conservationist from Mangar village, said, “There has been an upsurge in such incidents since June 2017, after the forest department went through an administrative reshuffling. Before that, there was a lull in tree cutting for about three or four years. The timber mafia has increased activities in the region over the last two months.”
“Mesquite wood is dense and slow burning, which makes it a viable source for charcoal. Woodcutters will usually enter the forest late evening to scout for trees. Once a spot has been identified, the cutting goes on till late night and the wood is then smuggled out after dark,” Harsana said.
There were three to four check-posts which were put up by forest department to check the unlawful activities but they were removed in January this year.
Vijay, a resident from Mangar village, explained, “The timber is taken to villages in the Mewat region, where it is burned for charcoal and stored in godowns until winter, when the demand for coal rises. I have seen this happen myself (in Mewat).”
The District Forest Officer of Gurugram, Deepak Nanda, refused to comment on the matter by saying that Mangar forest comes under the jurisdiction of forest department of Faridabad. However, the District Forest Officer of Faridabad, RS Dhull did not take up calls.