Kerala

Order distorted to denude State of its timber wealth: CM

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said illegal felling of endangered trees in the State in vast numbers recently had resulted from the subversion of a government order intended to help farmers legally harvest timber they had grown on land tracts assigned to them for agriculture.

In 2017, political parties of varied hues had agreed that the government should permit farmers to sell timber they had grown on their land. However, they should seek special permission before cutting endangered and valuable species such as rosewood, teak, and sandal.

In October 2020, the government issued an order further elaborating the 2017 decision. However, some elements distorted the order to denude Kerala of its timber wealth. They used farmers as a cover for their timber theft. Such persons would face stringent prosecution. However, the government would protect farmers and preserve their interest. The government had impounded the bulk of the poached timber.

On IS defectors’ issue

When pressed about the return of Islamic State defectors from Kerala currently in the custody of the Afghan government, Mr. Vijayan said the matter was the Central government’s purview. “The State had no say in the issue. The Centre would take a decision weighing various factors,” he said.

When pressed about Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K. Sudhakaran identifying the Communist Party of India (Marxist) as the principal enemy of the Congress in the State, Mr. Vijayan said: “The Congress high command should tell if it concurred with the KPCC president’s view that the Left was the principal political enemy of the party. The Congress had sent a wrong message by joining the BJP bandwagon to assail the previous LDF government. Even Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad for the Lok Sabha elections gave the impression that the Congress thought the progressive forces were its detractors and not the extreme right-wing parties”.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 12:31:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/order-distorted-to-denude-state-of-its-timber-wealth-cm/article34814785.ece

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