Forests in the strategic border region of Jiliza, Lori Marz, again fell prey to the chopping axe yesterday.
15,000 hectares of the forest is under the “protection” of the HayAntar Jiliza Forestry Division, while another 4,000 is under the administrative care of the Lalvar Forestry Division.
Hetq has written about the violations taking place in the Jiliza forest on numerous occasions.
One example is my piece, “Who’s Behind Large-Scale Logging in Jiliza?”
This article led to an investigation into the matter by the Lori Regional prosecutor.
But the investigation went nowhere. No criminal charges were filed.
Now it seems, those behind the illegal logging have no qualms or fears about doing their dirty work out in the open.
Yesterday, when I visited the forest, the trees proudly displaying their autumn colors, the buzz of chainsaws filled the air.
Along the road, the Hetq team met up with various trucks hauling off newly chopped trees. This was no targeted clearing of dead or diseased trees, since many were healthy.
We got the run around from the drivers and workers. Some would tell us that they had permission from HayAntar to chop and haul out trees, only to admit that they couldn’t produce the paper work then and there.
Jiliza village Mayor Mher Vardanyan quipped that, “Perhaps the felled trees had been legally cut and that the village school hadn’t been allocated any wood for heating.”
More excuses, more stories, more chainsaws buzzing away...
And all the time we didn’t spot one staffer or supervisor from HayAntar.