Minister for Environment, Ecology, Ports and Inland Water Transport J. Krishna Palemar on Tuesday directed Forest Department officials here not to object unnecessarily to cutting of trees for widening roads in the Mangalore City Corporation limits.

Presiding over a progress review meeting here, he said that cutting of some trees was inevitable for widening of roads and other development works. It was not right on the part of the officials to object to it.

“You first focus on preventing unauthorised felling of trees in forests,” the Minister told the officials, represented by Vijayakumar Shetty, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF), Dakshina Kannada.

Mr. Palemar said that in some places road alignment could not be changed for the sake of a few trees. Mayor M. Shankar Bhat said that the Forest Department had neither rejected nor approved the demand of the city corporation to cut some trees near Pandeshwar and on the stretch between Kankanady and Morgan’s Gate. V. Ponnuraj, Deputy Commissioner, said that only four trees would have to be cut between Kankanady and Morgan’s Gate. The corporation was trying to save trees wherever possible. The Minister directed the DCF to give clearance for cutting trees on roads where work had been affected, in a week’s time. Mr. Ponnuraj said that the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board would take up a survey to assess the extent of land that would be submerged by the time the new vented dam at Thumbe was completed. It would be completed in a month’s time.

In an unusual incident, the Deputy Commissioner sent the Executive Officer of Mangalore Taluk Panchayat Kantaraj out of the meeting for not providing proper information about the availability and distribution of land for the poor. Mr. Ponnuraj asked the official to go to his office at Hampankatta from Kottara, the venue of meeting, and return with proper information.

Mr. Kantaraj was told that a show-cause notice would be served on him if the information furnished by him was wrong.

Mr. Kantaraj left the meeting but did not return till the end of the meeting.

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