THE HIMACHAL Pradesh High Court Tuesday sought reports from the state government and district administration on aerial survey of vegetative growth, including new trees within Shimla Municipal Corporation areas, apart from progress on tagging of each tree with radio frequency identification tags.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel passed the orders on a petition taken up suo motu on an application moved by residents of Ram Nagar, a locality next to Tuti Kandi. The residents alleged that they were fighting for saving the thick forest area surrounding their locality but there had been an increase in the instances of illicit felling of trees, using advanced technology.The felled timber is removed from the spot within minutes, leaving little proof behind, they alleged.
The bench asked the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, to depute halqua patwaries of the revenue department for the purpose of enumeration of the trees on private land as had been asked by the Principal Chief Conservator of forests.
With regard to the cost incurred for such enumeration of trees on private land, the court directed respondents to file an affidavit stating therein as to how the cost was being recovered from the private land owners.
In the petition, the residents of Ram Nagar also alleged that most of the felling was being done during late night hours. One such case was also reported on July 13, 2017, when some of the trees were illegally felled.
The petitioners demanded that directions be issued to the forest department to take strict action against the persons involved in the activities of felling of the forest trees and get each tree in Ram Nagar tagged.
The court listed the matter on December 19.