Kerala

NGT calls for action-taken report on felling of rosewood trees in Wayanad

A centuries-old Indian rosewood tree which was axed in a private plantation at Karimkannikunnu under Muttil South Village in Wayanad district.

A centuries-old Indian rosewood tree which was axed in a private plantation at Karimkannikunnu under Muttil South Village in Wayanad district.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has called for an action-taken report on the illegal felling of centuries-old rosewood trees from revenue land assigned to farmers for cultivation in the forested Wayanad district in Kerala.

The Southern Bench of the tribunal comprising Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member K. Satyagopal took suo motu notice of media reports that stated that the Revenue and Forest Departments had failed in checking the illegal tree felling in South Muttil village in Wayanad. A similar loss of protected trees was also reported from other districts, it said.

The Bench said the issue required the interference of the Tribunal as the valuable trees were protected under the Kerala Preservation of Trees Act, 1986. Besides attracting the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, the reported tree felling also came under the purview of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 as the cutting of huge number of trees from the forest area would have an impact on the forest ecology and wildlife, it said.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Forest Department, Thiruvananthapuram, and the respective District Collectors have to submit their independent reports on the allegations of illegal tree felling in violation of the rules.

They need to assess the extent of the damage caused to the environment on account of the large-scale removal of protected trees. The government officials have to explain the prosecution steps initiated against those involved in the illegal act.

The independent reports have to mention the loss caused to the government following the tree felling by applying the principles of net present value (NPV) as observed by the Supreme Court in the T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad vs Union of India and Others case. It may also be reported whether any trees have been cut in the guise of the impugned government order.

The government has to explain the nature of violations committed by the persons responsible for the illegal tree felling. The respondents have to submit their reports before August 31.


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 4:44:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ngt-calls-for-action-taken-report-on-felling-of-rosewood-trees-in-wayanad/article35761822.ece