From January 2017 to date, a total of 137 chainsaw machines and 29 truck-load of illegal lumber have been seized by the Goaso forest district in the Brong Ahafo Region.
This followed a special operation carried out jointly by the military and officials at the Goaso District of the Forest Service Division.
Persons involved in the illegal activity are currently standing trial at the Goaso Circuit Court but the seized trucks and machines have been confiscated to the state on the orders of the court.
TV3’s investigations indicate that chainsaw operation, which has been outlawed longtime ago by government to protect the country’s rain forests, has now become a lucrative business in the Goaso district forest reserve.
It was also revealed that the chainsaw operators have invaded the forest reserves and cutting down the trees in droves for sale at the local market.
The chainsaw operators, TV3 gathered, usually transport the logs in the night.
Though they pass through various police checkpoints dotted along their routes, they manage to escape arrest. Others divert to the Western region.
The government is losing millions of cedis through the illegal activities of the chainsaw operators who do not pay any tax to the state.
To help save the situation, officials from the Goaso district forest reserve in charge of eight forest reserves have formed a joint taskforce with Juaboso/Wiaso And Dormaa district to stop the chainsaw operations.
The eight reserves include Bipokesea, Subim among others.
They have also started interacting with the opinion leaders from their catchment area on their move to stop illegal lumbering .
Kontihene of Asumura, Nana Kofi Abina, pledged their support towards ending illegal chainsaw operations in the area.
He said the activities of the chainsaw operators pose serious threat to the people and their livelihood.
The Goaso Forest District Manager, Godfred Quashigah underlined the resolve of the commission to stop the plunder of the forest and its resources, noting that it has upped its game to protect and ensure efficient management of the forest resources.
Mr Quashigah described as deeply worrying, the situation where “these people can assault and threaten the lives of our staff, all because they know they have the backing of influential and powerful people in the society’’.
He spoke of instances where range monitors have either be ran over with vehicles or butchered to death and “the next day, suspects arrested would be walking in the streets’’.
He called for support from everyone including chiefs and people in forest fringe communities, to expose and arrest those engaged in the illegal activity.
Their efforts have help to close down 34 out of the 40 illegal sawmills in the Goaso area .
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