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Khandre orders probe into illegal felling of trees in Kodagu

The Range Forest Officer, Mundrote, registered a forest offence case against three persons on April 30 for felling 239 trees. However, activists from Kodagu Ekikarana Ranga visited the spot of the incident and claimed that thousands of trees have been cut in the area.
Last Updated : 15 May 2024, 23:11 IST
Last Updated : 15 May 2024, 23:11 IST

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Forest Minister Eshwar B Khandre has ordered a probe into the illegal felling of “thousands of trees” in the Virajpet division of Talacauvery sanctuary, after activists said that the forest officials in the district were underplaying the matter.

The Range Forest Officer, Mundrote, registered a forest offence case against three persons on April 30 for felling 239 trees. However, activists from Kodagu Ekikarana Ranga visited the spot of the incident and claimed that thousands of trees have been cut in the area.

In a note to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Head of Forest Force), Khandre said though media reports about the incident were shared with senior officials, they failed to clarify the matter to the minister’s office.

“An officer of Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest should be deputed immediately for a comprehensive review and submit a factual report, including GPS-tagged videos, within three days,” the minister said, adding that action should be initiated against the Forest officials, who were found negligent.

Mundrote, along with Makutta and Ponnampet ranges, share borders with Kerala. Some of its forests are near inaccessible. “There are areas where one has to walk kilometres to find a walking path let alone a road. This has been a blessing for illegal felling and smuggling of trees,” an activist said.

As per the information shared by the district officials, the land appears to be a redeemed sagu (where the occupant of the land has paid for the timber). Officials said they were verifying the documents to conclude over the land status.

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Published 15 May 2024, 23:11 IST

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