BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
BREACH of Licensee has been made by a logging operation at Ngella having operating outside of the concession area where the Timber Rights have approved initially.
The land area of concern is Maleali which also hosts the water supply for Tulaghi Township, making it automatically an issue of major public interest.
According to Central Islands Province (CIP) Provincial Secretary (PS), Christian Siale, they have already submitted report to the Commissioner of Forest highlighting that there is a logging operation outside of the concession area approved.
However, the notice to cancel is within the power of the Commissioner under the Forestry Act.
In clarification, the PS said that there are two distinct issues, one is the power of the Commissioner of Forest going in to play as the guardian of the Forestry Act as a response done to the reports done by the province and the other separate issue is trespassing into government land under the Crown.
The PS and Premier of CIP Hon Patrick Vasuni took the opportunity to reveal one of the survey reports confirming the encroachment into the registered land which is about a hector into it that is within the harvesting plan of the accused logging company.
Report shown confirmed that the operation is taking place outside of the concession area where the Timber Rights have approved initially.
“What the province has put out is not purposely for the Commissioner to enforce but to confirm the trespassing into the land of the Crown, this is the purpose of the report,” clarified CIP’s PS.
“But the Commissioner has picked out that there is a breach of the license so that is why this is being exercised, the notice to cancel is within the power of the Commissioner under the Forestry Act.”
It is understood that the logging licensee and contractor accused is the same person by entity and shareholding arrangements, it is owned by a person having 100 percent shares.
So there is no difference as the CIP PS said that there is no room for era.
“The onus is just too heavy in which such mistake is uncalled for, how can you ignore what the requirements of the licensee and harvesting plan are,” said the PS.
PS Siale elaborated that only two reports are left, the quantification of logging volume on trees as well as the environmental report.
“The latest consultation with two of these ministries (Environment and Forestry) should be available by next week and the Attorney General (AG) is very much on top of this issue being well aware of it and that he is only waiting for instructions from the province for whether we will put a case against the contractor and licensee or we will negotiate out of court settlement with the licensee and contractor,” said the PS.
Currently the water supply is not yet a threat at this point of time for Tulaghi Township as it is situated on a different front where encroachment is, but there are reports that activities are going on there where the source of water is.