Local timber traders raise rights issue
DIMAPUR, AUGUST 19
THE Nagaland Timber Traders’ Union today resolved to take a stand against what they deemed as discriminatory treatment to genuine beneficiaries. They alleged that there was a ‘repressive system’ operating in the timber trading sector which was depriving genuine Naga traders of their rightful benefits for a considerable number of years.At a meeting in Hotel Japfu,Kohima this morning the local traders under the banner of the Nagaland Timber Traders’ Union (NTTU) resolved to screen beneficiaries of the “Working Scheme Permit” which will differentiate the genuine from the non-genuine traders and also take up the interests of the genuine traders.
To this end the meeting was followed up with the members submitting a memorandum to the State Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) seeking his favour to grant Working Scheme Permit only to the genuine forest covered villages and timber extractable areas. They have also appealed to the PCCF that the NTTU office be consulted to authenticate list of genuine traders before passing any new working scheme permits.
Signatories of the memorandum comprised the NTTU president along with five district unit Presidents of Dimapur,Kohima,Kiphire,Peren and Phek districts.
The memorandum also apprised the PCCF that the present working scheme is being manipulated by the non-local timber brokers whereas the genuine Naga timber operators are being deprived in many ways. The bone of contention is that while export of timber is being controlled mostly by non-locals who accrue the maximum profits, local traders who are the real producers are deprived of the benefits as they do not possess the Working Scheme permit. It may be mentioned here that only those persons who possess the Working Scheme permit can export timber.
The meeting also resolved to undertake massive tree plantation drive in all the timber operation districts to replenish the forest cover areas. To begin with, NTTU has agreed to supply one lakh tree saplings to all the districts in accordance with the favorability of the climate. They also agreed to render financial assistance to members undertaking the plantation drive.NTTU President Kevise Sogotsu addressing the Union members asserted that genuine traders should be given the Working Scheme to enable them to derive maximum profit.
Towards this end, Sogotsu said NTTU is seriously working to check interference of outside elements. Giving insight into the Working Scheme procedure, Kevise said 10% of the total fund is earmarked for afforestation works in all the timber operation districts. In this context, he has directed the respective District Presidents to investigate if such funds have been received from the permit holders. He also stressed on unity among the members to strengthen the Union.He has attributed the persisting problem to lack of unity among the members.
NTTU Dimapur in-charge, Huska Sema, exhorted members on the need to encourage one another and to work for the welfare of the members. Presidents of Phek district- Sanyi Dukru, Peren district – N. John Zeliang, Kiphire district – JB Shahoto, and Kohima district – Thekrupa also spoke on the occasion.