Tree-felling orders issued as per 2005 Act: Minister

No instructions have been issued to the Revenue Secretary to issue orders allowing felling of trees on pataya land bypassing the stance taken by revenue and forest officials, Revenue Minister K.Rajan told the Assembly on Monday.

He said orders were issued as per the Kerala Promotion of Tree Growth in Non-Forest Areas Act of 2005 to allow cutting of trees which the farmers had planted on their pataya land assigned as per the Kerala Land Assignment Rules, 1964 or which had naturally grown, except protected trees such as sandalwood.

He said there was no need for a legal advice in this matter as it was done as per the 2005 Act. Several organisations of farmers and political parties had submitted memorandums requesting permission for farmers to cut trees they had planted.

The former Revenue Minister had issued instructions to take action against those who had prevented farmers from cutting such trees. The tree register would be checked to ascertain whether trees which were present on the pataya land before the assignment to the beneficiaries had been cut.

The order allowing tree-felling issued on October 24, 2020 was aimed at protecting the interests of high range farmers. Only the Wayanad District Collector had expressed concern regarding this order. No other official had expressed objection or concern, the Minister said.

Mr.Rajan said strict action would be taken in cases involving cutting of trees from land other than pataya land. There was no difference of opinion between the Forest and Revenue Department regarding this order, he said in reply to a question.

A special investigation team had been given the responsibility of inquiring into the matter, based on the reports of District Collectors and the Forest Department. Out of the ₹16 crore worth trees that were felled, trees worth ₹10 crore had been seized already. None of the accused in the case had met the present or former ministers, he said.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 8:18:17 AM |

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