Karnataka

Probe ordered into destruction of 9,500 trees in Kolar district

Karnataka High Court. File  

The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday ordered an inquiry by the Lokayukta on the issue of destruction of around 9,500 trees, grown on 37.06 acres of the government land in Kolar district several years ago, due to illegal mining activities.

Also, the court directed the Forest Department to take up afforestation on 37.06 acres of the land, situated at Gundehalli, Tekal, Malur taluk, and maintain it for three years before handing over the land to Banahalli Gram Panchayat.

The government has also been directed to recover within three months the remaining ₹106 crore fine imposed on 19 firms for carrying out illegal mining beyond the licensed areas in the panchayat limits.

A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued the directions while disposing of a PIL petition by Ravindra and four others from Kolar district. The petitioners had sought action on destruction of trees and allowing of illegal mining.

The court said the Lokayukta could initiate an inquire under Section 9 of the Karnataka Loayukta Act, 1984, and proceed under Section 12 of the Act to take action based on the outcome of the inquiry.

Joint venture

Earlier, the State government had accepted the petitioner’s claim that a plantation of trees was raised several years ago on the land through a joint venture involving the gram panchayat and the Forest Department. However, the panchayat had denied such a joint agreement.

 

Following this, the court had ordered an inquiry by a senior officer of the government which found that tree plantation was done based on the agreement involving the panchayat several years ago.


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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 9:10:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/probe-ordered-into-destruction-of-9500-trees/article36507273.ece

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