50,000 tonnes of illegal timber seized, 11 foreigners and 8,310 nationals captured in year

Soe Min Htike and Kyaw Myo

Under the current government led by the National League for Democracy, more than 50,000 tonnes of illegal timber and 2,599 vehicles and machinery pieces were seized and 11 foreigners and 8,310 Myanmar nationals arrested for timber smuggling, said Khin Maung Yi, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

The information was revealed during a clarification of the ministry's performances in the one-year period of the government. The briefing took place at the Ministry of Information in Nay Pyi Taw on Monday.

The permanent secretary said the Forest Department under the ministry was taking systematic and special measures across the country to wipe out illegal logging and smuggling. Under the new government since taking office last year till March this year, 50,026 tonnes of illegal timber, including teak and hard wood were seized.

He said that this fiscal year (2017-2018), timber will be produced from 10,620 teak trees and 181,222 hardwood trees.

"There are 19,210 teak trees allowed for this financial year. But the real number of trees from which we can produce timber is 10,620. Similarly, we can produce timber from 181,222 hardwood trees only, although there are 592,330," said Khin Maung Yi.

Translated by Soe Tint