Timber farmers and dealers of Peren and Phek districts have extended support and solidarity to the demand of the Nagaland Timber Traders’ Union (NTTU) and Timber Traders’ Welfare Union for an end to “unfair manipulation” in allotment of wagons.
Peren District Timber Traders’ Union president N John Zeliang in a press release stated that since timber was the only product from Nagaland to be sold outside the state, the genuine timber farmers and beneficiaries should not be deprived of their due share of profit.
Peren District Timber Traders’ Union, which has more than a hundred registered tree farmers, said that as per the directive of the central government through the state forest department, the tree farmers were registered after completing all formalities.
But even after obtaining all legal documents, the registered farmers have not been getting any wagon allotment for the past three years.
“This is sheer injustice and Peren district tree farmers and timber traders will suspend all forms of timber movement if the unfair manipulation in allotting wagons is not stopped,” PDTTU said.
In a separate press note, Phek District Timber Association (PDTA) also said all timber and related activities in Phek district would be forced to shut down if the state government does not act immediately to check the manipulation in allotment of wagons.
Reacting to allegations that some higher-ups in the Forest department and a minister were involved in selling wagons to some moneyed individuals, Phek District Timber Association president Sanyi Dukru said such practice by higher ups was a shameful act and a blot to the government.
The two timber unions also said that due to selling of wagons at high prices (Rs. 1.5 – 2 lakhs), the timber farmers cannot increase the price of timber, even though prices of all other items and goods have skyrocketed.
Both Peren District Timber Traders’ Union and Phek District Timber Association stated that they would continue to fight alongwith Nagaland Timber Traders’ Union till the government does justice to the timber community.