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Forest official accused of disturbing local deity’s “abode”

Dec 27, 2013

Forest official accused of disturbing local deity’s “abode”The people of two villages under Chhaling Gewog in Monggar have accused a forest official of intentionally cutting down trees in a protected area for personal use. The official, however, maintains he is innocent.

Locals share that in the older days; people feared walking through the forest even in the day time. The area is believed to be home to a local deity called Degay Zangpo, so no one cuts trees in the area.

Kinzang, 83, warns that harm may come to the people now because trees have been cut down.  “We even have a water source in the area which we have been protecting since the time of our parents. We never expected a forest official to do this.”

The Tshogpa, Tshundru Gyeltshen of Shebchi-Yangthang, also complained that the forest official had not informed anyone before cutting trees in the area. “The trees had already been cut by the time I was informed. The official told me that he had a permit from the Dzongkhag Forestry Officer to cut down dried trees”.

Another Tshogpa of Pangthang-Thempang, Pema Tenzin, said they are not being possessive about the trees. “We are just worried about our community being affected because the forest has been harmed.”

There is some evidence of other trees having been cut earlier, but villagers are quick to explain that those culprits had lost their lives afterwards.

The forest official defends his actions by saying he had not been aware of the protected forest.

The Chhaling Gup has been to asked to act on the matter by villagers, but he says he must wait for directives from higher authorities.

There are, currently, no official documents demarcating the area as being protected, but the Monggar Divisional forest office is expected to look into identifying the area as such.

2 Comments for “Forest official accused of disturbing local deity’s “abode””

  1. Wangchu

    Forest Official should use common sense when big big trees are grown in the middle of the village that it could be something like that. If forest officials want to cut down the trees village people will be happy because it will keep away wild animals from villagers’ filed. But the thing is that it is said to be abode of local deity named Dheyoen Zangpo (not Dheney Zangpo) and remained forest. It is right that you pointed out there is no documents saying that it is protected area but it was from their forefathers’ time area was protected. By then I think government didn’t issue documents for such things.
    Now only thing villagers should do is place risk to that forest official if any misfortune happens to villager due to this nonsense behavior of forest people.

  2. Tiptop

    Local people have to inform the forest official before marking that particular tree.I dont think that, forest personal have entered into the forest and used power chain to fell that tree.And i dont even expect that villager from other village claim to fell that protect tree too.I think it is not the failure job of the forestry personel but is the local people(engaged during marking).Above author have stated that, it has been protected from forefathers’ time,”forestry poeple should know all those thing”(common sense) how dare that forestry people have that much capacities to analyse based on common sense without inputs from the local people.
    “It was collective failure” No blame to any one

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