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Timber trade suspended
Published on 6 Sep. 2010 12:22 AM IST
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Nagaland Timber Traders’ Union (NTTU) Sunday said it has decided to suspend all timber movement and activities in the state if the government failed to immediately resolve the issue of “unfair manipulation” in allotment of wagons for tree felling and moulding beat units.
NTTU president Kevise Sogotsu in a statement said that allotment of wagons for tree felling and moulding units was meant for small-time tree farmers and traders selling timber on a limited scale. It reiterated the demand for equitable allocation of wagons to tree farmers and timber dealers of various districts. The NTTU said after all hard labour and sweat working in the jungles braving harsh conditions and dealing with multi-problems including taxations, the tree farmers and timber traders hardly managed to get back their investment.
“All costs have gone up including labour and transportation charge, food and hiring of machineries. However the price of timber continues to remain stagnant. The only relief for tree farmers and timber traders is to get their share of wagon allotment,” NTTU said.
On “Working scheme” for timber dealers, the NTTU clarified that in the first place, it was the state government that pursued and issued the working scheme to timber traders. The NTTU president said that the tree farmers and timber dealers would continue to fight for their rights till the issue was resolved as there was no point in doing “business at a loss.” It further appealed to various governments and set-ups to understand the plight of timber community.
Meanwhile, the Naga Timber Union, Kohima (NTU) and Chumukedima Timber Association, Dimapur (CTA), decried the alleged manipulation of wagon allotment by some VIPs. NTU president Thekrupa Angami and CTA president Silhoulie Kruse in a joint press statement alleged that “one minister and a commissioner secretary were directly involved in timber business by selling wagons at the rate of Rs. 2-2.5 lakhs.”
Appealing the government to take serious note of the issue, the two unions said that the timber business in the state involving sustenance of thousands of people cannot be jeopardized by few “individuals.” The unions also reminded that timber was the only product from the state to be sent outside, under guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.
(Related story on page 2)

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