Action against eight, including the DFO of the Forest Corporation, in the case of cutting valuable deodar trees.

Action against eight, including the DFO of the Forest Corporation, in the case of cutting valuable deodar trees.

In the Purola Tons Forest Range of Uttarkashi district, action has been initiated against eight officials and employees of the Forest Development Corporation in a case involving the unauthorized felling of valuable deodar trees. The immediate former DFO of the Forest Development Corporation, Ramkumar, is among those facing action. The director of the corporation, K.M. Rao, has requested the Tehri regional management for an immediate report regarding action against the concerned officials and employees.

This action comes after Chief Forest Conservator Anoop Malik’s approval, following which the APSFC administration’s BP Gupta had written a letter to the MD of the Forest Corporation for action. The letter stated that in the departmental investigation, it has been confirmed that a significant number of deodar and pine trees have been illegally cut down in the Sandhra Range, Devata Range, and Kotigad Range under the Tons Forest Division of the Purola tehsil.

The responsibility for the illegal felling in Purola has been assigned to the Forest Corporation. According to the report, the places where the cutting took place are about 15 kilometers away from the road and are not frequented by the general public. These areas remain snow-covered until the end of February.

The report has requested immediate action against the mentioned officials, including Ramkumar, the acting DFO, Narendra Rawat, the Lot Incharge, Mohan Singh, the Assistant Forest Guard, Satyeshwar Lohani, the Lot Incharge, Murkandi Prasad, the Assistant Forest Guard, Padam Das, the Section Officer, Ajit Kumar, the Lot Incharge, and Vijaypal, the Assistant Forest Guard, for disciplinary measures against them.

The MD, K.M. Rao, informed that a letter has been received from the Forest Headquarters, based on which he has asked the Tehri Regional Manager to initiate immediate action against all of these individuals and submit a report. Action is also being taken against the contractor.

The Unauthorized Felling Began After Lot Allocation

The investigation ordered by Chief Garhwal revealed that unauthorized cutting did not exist at the Tons Forest Range until the lot allocation. The Forest Corporation did not extract wood from the area for two years after the cutting. However, in recent months, unauthorized cutting of old wood was being carried out under the guise of extracting old wood.

When Will the Action Be Taken Against DFOs and Rangers?

After the investigation report by Chief Garhwal Nareesh Kumar, directions have been given to the concerned officers and employees at the level of DFOs and Rangers. Letters have been sent to the government for action against the DFEOs and ADFEOs as well.

However, the investigation committee has not been formed yet in the case of cutting hundreds of deodar and pine trees in the Kanasar Range in Chakrata. More trees have been cut here than in Tons. The count is estimated to be around a thousand. This case raises questions not only about the working of the Forest Department but also about the government’s protection. Who is the government saving?

Former Chief Minister Harish Rawat has said that all of this has happened under the government’s protection. If not, the government should conduct a high-level investigation into this case and take immediate action against the culprits. On the other hand, Chief Forest Conservator Anoop Malik has stated that the paper investigation is underway, and results will be out soon. The Forest Department will take significant action in this case as well, but it will take some time to handle things correctly.

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