Forest dept begins axing trees in Chikkamagaluru

Forest dept begins axing trees in Chikkamagaluru

The forest department has planned to cut 40,000 to 50,000 trees inside the forests in Chikkamagaluru, much to the chagrin of environmentalists.

The Koppa division of Chikkamagaluru circle of the department has initiated a drive to fell teakwood, ‘nandi,’ rosewood and other trees in 22 plantations.

The drive has commenced in the reserve forest on Balehonnur-NR Pura Road, Gadigeshwara, Chikka Agrahara, Devadana and Basavanakote reserve forests. The logs have already been transported to depots. The officials have numbered the teakwood trees for felling in Muthodi range, adjacent to Bhadra reserve forest.

No permission was given for “thinning” of teakwood trees in the district in the past four years. When Pathak was the DCF, the officials, in the name of “thinning,” had created bogus bills worth crores of rupees and were involved in embezzlement of funds. The environmentalists have been opposing the thinning of trees. As a result, officials were not giving permission for felling of trees,” sources in the department told DH.

“A senior official had identified 122 plantations inside the reserve forest for tree felling. He had pressured DCF of Chikkamagaluru and Koppa divisions to approve the proposal,” said an official.

Chikkamagaluru circle CCF Range Gowda said, “As per plan, selected trees in 40 plantations in Koppa division and 22 plantations in Chikkamagaluru division were to be felled. Following opposition, trees have been felled in 8 to 10 plantations in Koppa division and six in Chikkamagaluru division.”

Greens cry foul

Environmentalists have opposed the move to fell trees. But the felling of trees inside the reserve forest in Balehonnur continued on Wednesday. Various organisations have submitted a memorandum to ACF Shankar against the move.

Wildlife activist G Veeresh said, “The move to fell trees in the name of thinning makes one doubt whether the government is engaged in timber business.”

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