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Use of Goondas Act to protect sholas in the Nilgiris likely

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Checking for violations: Forest Minister N.Selvaraj inspecting a private tea estate at Naduvattam on Thursday. —
Checking for violations: Forest Minister N.Selvaraj inspecting a private tea estate at Naduvattam on Thursday. —

Special Correspondent

Government will view felling of trees very seriously, says Minister

Udhagamandalam: Felling of trees, particularly those belonging to the shola species, will be viewed very seriously by the Government, said Forest Minister N.Selvaraj, on Thursday.

He said this while speaking to newspersons at Naduvattam near here.

He added that the possibility of booking persons who felled shola trees under the Goondas Act would be explored.

Visit

The Minister pointed out that the purpose of his visit to the Nilgiris was to inspect a private estate in Naduvattam where trees, including those belonging to the shola species, had reportedly been felled without authorization being given to carry out the action.

Mr. Selvaraj said that a few months ago the management of the estate had obtained permission from the District Committee that was dealing with tree cutting, to clear wattle and eucalyptus growing over about 11.5 hectares.

However, it had brought down trees, including shola trees, in another area extending over 4.5 hectares, notwithstanding objections that had come from the field staff of the forest department.

Stating that rules relating to trees were common both in the private and reserve forests, he said that appropriate action would be taken against the management for having violated the existing rules.

The committee dealing with tree cutting would be asked to cancel the permit given for felling trees on 11.5 hectares.

Rules

Replying to a query, he said that at all costs, the rules governing Project Tiger at Masinagudy should be adhered to by those concerned.

When asked about the demand to throw open the Siriyur-Thengumarahaada road which passed through a forest area, he said that a survey would be conducted.

The process of acquiring land for widening the elephant corridors in Kallar and Jakkanarai was making good progress.

During the inspection, Mr. Selvaraj was accompanied by the Khadi Board Minister K.Ramachandran, the Secretary, Environment and Forests N.Sundaradevan and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests C.K.Sreedharan.

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