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Bengaluru: Forest department denies felling of trees, encroachments in two districts

Bengaluru: Forest department denies felling of trees, encroachments in two districts
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Bengaluru: Forest department denies felling of trees, encroachments in two districts

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The forest department has denied the encroachments as alleged by the Karnataka Biodiversity Board chairman Ananth Hegde Ashisar.

Bengaluru: The forest department has denied the encroachments as alleged by the Karnataka Biodiversity Board chairman Ananth Hegde Ashisar. In a report submitted to Forest Minister Arvind Limbavali, the Board chairman stated that hundreds of acres of forest land had been destroyed and encroached in Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts in the first few weeks of May at a time when the State was under lockdown.

Ashisar said that he had spoken to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and he would take stock of the situation once he returned to Bengaluru.

"I have asked the PCCF to look into the issue and he has assured me of looking into the issue. Since I am in a remote village area I will not be able to get the report now. I will be able to give the updated status once I get the report," he said.

The board has alleged that 480 acres of forest has been destroyed in Hogarekanugiri and 472 trees have been axed in the Balur Reserve Forest near Kottigehara.

The report said that trees in Halesoraba Devarakanu in Shivamogga region were felled and forest areas were devastated in Sagar, Hosanagar and Teerthahalli taluks.

Conservator of forest, Sunil Panwar told The Hans India that the satellite imagery clearly shows that no such clearing has taken place.

"We have already stated that no new clearing has occurred. The images do not lie. The staff have visited the areas where the devastation was reported to have taken place and we have not found any new clearing," he said.

The senior forest officers in the department have also seconded Panwar's statement.

The Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) of Koppa reportedly has also contested the claims of the Board chairman.

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