Social activist Avdhash Kaushal has sought a CBI probe into assets of forest officials who allegedly failed to curb the raging inferno in forests in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Almora and Pithoragarh districts.
“Most of these fires are in plantation areas and may have been caused to hide irregularities during plantation and illicit felling of trees,” he told reporters here on Friday.
Mr. Kaushal also wanted to know how forest officials were changing the boundaries of the proposed Rajaji National Park or declaring new areas sanctuaries without the Legislature’s assent as required under the law.
Mr. Kaushal wondered how the Forest Department had issued show-cause notices to nine aviation companies for flying helicopter sorties to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath without its permission. These companies had been permitted by the State Government to carry pilgrims to the Himalayan shrines as well as earn revenue, he said.
Why did foresters ban transhumance by Van Gujjars living in the Mohund forests despite an order by the Principal Secretary, Forests, that nomads who had not been allotted land be allowed to move livestock from one grazing ground to another in a seasonal cycle? The welfare of Van Gujjars was safeguarded by the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (recognition of forest rights) Act 2006, Mr. Kaushal pointed out.