Illegal?: Around 25 trees worth 20 lakh chopped off with connivance of forest department
Illegal?: Around 25 trees worth 20 lakh chopped off with connivance of forest department

UDHAGAMANDALAM: On Saturday around 25 eucalyptus trees worth over Rs 20 lakh were cut down allegedly with the connivance of the forest department officials in the district. The cutting down  of trees and shifting of wooden logs were stopped at the Forest Gate, Arambi and Bushfire reserve forest areas.

Deepak Srivastava, the chief conservator of forests said that a clear-cut instruction had been given to the district forest officer, Nilgiris division, to not cut trees on a blanket order in reserved areas. “Given the gravity of the situation, I will inspect the forest areas on Monday and the Nilgiris DFO is solely accountable for every inch of the wooden log cut,” he added.

According to Srivastava, all the cut wood logs will go to TANTEA as per an internal agreement between the forest department and TANTEA.

The district forest officer Suresh Soman on Saturday said that the forest range officer had cut the trees based on an order No. 5527/2018/L that issued by him to cut 30 trees in the particular localities as the trees poses a threat to the people there. In Arambi forest area, at least 10-15 trees were cut randomly. “The DFO had been instructed to chop off only the branches of trees posing danger so that the intensity of the wind on the trees would be reduced. Now, having issued a blanket order to cut trees, Soman must justify his act,” said Srivastava.


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