DOLAKHA, April 19: Around 300 trees worth more than Rs 10 million have been felled illegally inside Gaurishankar Conservation Area (GCA), say government officials.
Danuri Sherpa, a resident of Gumdel VDC of Ramechhap district, along with his four other brothers, allegedly cut down 450 cedar, pine and saal (Shorea Robusta) trees -- of which 300 were felled illegally -- inside Sherdung forest, which forms a part of the GCA, in the last one year alone, according to officials.
According to Phanindra Raj Kharel, liaison officer of the GCA, Sherpa had obtained permission for logging 150 saal trees in his private forest area from District Forest Office of Ramechhap. However, Sherpa felled 300 more cedar and pine trees by producing the same permission letter.
Although the forest where Sherpa cut down trees belongs to him, he has to obtain permission for cutting down trees as his forest is located in the conservation area. One month ago, the office of the GCA had ordered Sherpa to appear before the GCA officials within 70 days. However, Sherpa has remained out of contact since.
Earlier, after the GCA official filed a case against Sherpa, his supporters had ransacked a unit office of GCA. The ransacked office is yet to come into operation.
Meanwhile, locals have vented their ire against the GCA officials for the delay in taking action to check illegal logging.
However, GCA chief Satya Narayan Shah said: "We have not delayed action. We had initiated a probe into the matter soon after we received a complaint. It is just that the matter came to light only after we officially filed a case against Sherpa and his brothers."