the approach road from sivalkhar to sarasdol within the sanctuary has been cut across with a deep trench so that vehicles can no longer traverse it. a roundabout route through achanakmaar still did not allow access - we suddenly need a special pass from the forest officer in the block headquarters. a village we have been visiting for the past six years to support health workers providing primary health care services is now difficult to access. equally so for the villagers to reach the outside world in a case of an emergency.
meanwhile in bamhni village, six axes were confiscated this week. it is no longer allowed to cut any branches of any trees, or cut trees themselves. though the resettlement is a couple of years away at least, life is becoming difficult for people here. firewood may be gathered from what has fallen on the forest floor, but no dead logs can be split, nor can one collect wood to repair a beam of a house, or to build a hut.
returning from the shivterai clinic this afternoon, i see a forest department jeep in front of us with six confiscated pieces of slender wood, already worked on caringly to form what may become beams.
as we overtake that jeep, we are stuck behind a large truck, carrying huge logs of wood, perhaps eighty or more in that overloaded truck - tree trunks that must be at least fifty years old. each log is marked by chalk indicating the date it was logged, and its length. some more markings that i cannot understand. sold by the forest department to i am not sure who. this, of course, will not destroy the forest. what the forest dwellers need to keep alive, will.