Forest dept stops felling of trees after PCCF's diktat

Top officer issues order to stop thinning activities in C'magaluru dist

Finally, the environmentalists’ fight against felling of fully-grown teakwood trees in the name of ‘thinning’ at reserve forest and rosewood grove here has yielded results.
The forest personnel have stopped axing trees, following the intervention of principal chief conservator of forest R S Suresh.

Following a detailed report that appeared in DH on Thursday titled, ‘Forest Department Begins Axing Trees in C’magaluru,’ the officer has issued an order asking his sub-ordinates to withdraw from tree felling with immediate effect.

Suresh told DH, “I have gone through the report that has appeared in the paper. It was among the department’s plans to technically thin the trees in groves. But when it was opposed, a vigilance team was sent in a covert manner to assess the situation and submit the report. Following the situation, the officers have been told to stop such activities undertaken in any forest with immediate effect.”

Amid this, some officials and lower-rung staff of the department under Chikkamagaluru and Koppa divisions have blamed some higher officials indulging in such activities under pressure from timber mafia and also politicians. While some local organisations have been vehemently opposing such activities, some offiicials were hell bent and had taken it as a prestige issue to go ahead with, it is said.

A local reisdent charged that some officials had camped at the forests where teakwood was identified in large numbers, like at Devadana and Basavanakote reserve forests on Thursday too, to monitor the situation.

According to sources, the Forest Department had submitted a proposal for Rs 30 crore to the government six months ago towards the annual thinning plan. But the government released Rs 5 crore while Rs 1 crore was released to Koppa division.

Deputy conservator of forest Chandranna has clarified that the the work on axing fully-grown Acacia trees, dry trees and teak in Chikkamagaluru and Koppa divisions, to supply the logs to government godowns is under way.

“The works are undertaken in compliance with the guidelines approved by both the Centre and the state governments. The district has an estimated 2,000 hectares of teakwood plantations. Among them, thinning has taken up at 150 to 200 hectares. The acacia trees will be felled and replaced with plantation of other species of saplings.”
If the government orders for stopping the same, the thinning works will be stopped, he added.

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