Locals from tourist spot Tangmarg in north Kashmir said that the forest cover in the area has been facing axe at an alarming rate much to indifference and inaction by the authorities.
The trees are felling in Gulabdg Aboora, Kharpora, Yarikha Tangmarg, Drung and Gulmarg Baba Reshi areas, they said.
“Trees are being alarmingly axed in the emerging tourist spot of Bandpora-Kharpora Tangmarg where government is spending crores of rupees for the connectivity,” said Shabir, a local from Tangmarg.
But many locals said that the deforestation is going throughout the Tangmarg area and now, in Gulmarg as well “which need to be curbed immediately”.
“The Gulmarg was very beautiful as it had a huge forest cover, but now because of illegal construction of hotels and other commercial building, it stands totally damaged,” said Riyaz Ahmad Chachi, ATV vehicle President Gulmarg. “Authorities are here are for the sake of name only.”
But more than an illegal construction, the alarming felling of trees have triggered a distress in locals who said that if the practice continued, then the place will no longer woo the tourists.
“The green cover makes the Tangmarg and Gulmarg belt as the favourite tourist destinations,” said Manzoor Ahmad, a local tourist guide. “But it seems, the authorities themselves are hand in glove with timber smugglers.”
Meanwhile, DFO Tangmarg, Dr Mehraj told Kashmir Life that he will take “strict action” against those involved in deforestation in these areas “and will himself look into the matter”.