Tree-rich estate going bald

Tree-rich estate going bald

Over 40 silver oak and eucalyptus trees have been felled at the estate, right under the noses of the government’s ‘Roerich and Devika Rani Estate Committee’, which is responsible for managing the estate.

The committee had recently granted a tender to cut down about 50 withered and fallen trees, but the contractors have misused the tender to cut down at least 40 healthy trees. Sources at the forest department revealed that the violation had resulted in a big loss of revenue to the government.

“The tender was awarded two months ago to fell only dead trees but the conditions have been violated. Senior officials from the department will visit the estate on Monday and carry out a thorough inspection to ascertain the extent of damage and violation,” highly placed sources at the department said.

Meanwhile, the administrator of the ‘Roerich and Devika Rani Estate Committee’, H Mujeeb Ahmed said the  the lack of a fence for the farm was a problem. “There is a plan to fence the entire 11 kilometres surrounding the estate with a barbed fence. We will soon make a representation to the government for it,” he said.

The historic estate which covers around 468 acres was owned by Russian artist Svetoslav Roerich and Devika Rani, actress of yesteryear's.

But after the death of Rani in 1994, the estate was claimed by her personal secretary Mary Poonacha and the case has been pending at the Supreme Court.

The State Government in 1996 introduced a special Act for the administration of the estate and formed the Roerich and Devika Rani Estate Committee.

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