Kerala

More rosewood timber seized in Wayanad district in Kerala

The massive rosewood-felling first came to light after the Forest Department officials seized 54 pieces of illegal rosewood timbers worth ₹60 lakh from a saw mill at Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district. (image for representational purposes)   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Forest Department on Thursday seized nearly 16 cubic metres of endangered rosewood logs from five sites in Wayanad district of Kerala.

The logs had been kept in private coffee plantations at Mukkam Kunnu, Makkyanikkunnu and Pakkam near Vazhavatta in Muttil South Village after felling it reportedly from revenue pattaya land, Forest Department sources said.

“As measuring of the timber logs is under way, the exact figure could be ascertained only after the assessment,” said a source.

The forest officials had seized 202 cubic feet of rosewood illegally axed from revenue pattaya land under the village and shifted it to Kuppady timber depot of the Forest Department nearly four months ago.

The massive rosewood-felling came to light after the Forest Department officials seized 54 pieces of illegal rosewood timbers worth ₹60 lakh from a saw mill at Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district on February 9. The wood was transported from Wayanad to the saw mill without valid documents and the seizure was made on the basis of a tip-off.

Call for CBI probe

Meanwhile, the Kerala Paristhithi Aikya Vedi, a collective of 56 environmental organisations in the State, has urged a CBI investigation into the illegal felling of rosewood and teak trees reserved to the government in Kerala.

Following a circular issued in March 2020 and a government order in October the same year, felling of rosewood and teak, which have been categorised as ‘royal trees’, was made illegal under the Kerala Land Assignment Rules, 1964.

The environmental organisations said in a memorandum submitted to State and Central governments that the stance of the government that there was no need to investigate the circumstances that led to the issuance of such orders was a challenge to the judiciary. Hence, a CBI investigation alone could bring the culprits before the law, they said.

They have called for “halting the support” of the government to timber mafia that had felled the valuable trees on behalf of farmers and tribals as well as amening the land-related Acts by defining them transparently about the rights of farmers on their lands.

Several environmental organisations, including the Malabar Natural History Society, Society for Environmental Education in Kerala (SEEK) in Payyannur, State chapter of the National Alliance of People’s Movements, Wayanad Prakruthi Samrakshana Samithi, Save the Western Ghats movement, Cochin Natural History Society and River research centre, Thrissur, signed in the memorandum.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 5:41:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/more-rosewood-timber-seized-in-wayanad-district-in-kerala/article34947288.ece

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