October 28, 2017 3:21:49 am
EXPRESSING SERIOUS concern over illegal and unabated felling of trees by unidentified persons, both on government as well as private plots, the Himachal Pradesh High Court Friday directed the chief secretary to strictly enforce the ban on felling and also start the process of implanting radio frequency tags inside trees to maintain proper data of each tree grown and felled in Shimla. Directions were passed by a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel during hearing on a case related to the Shimla’s tree wealth gradually thinning.
“It appears that despite several orders passed by this court, illicit felling of trees is still being carried out by unidentified persons within the municipal limits of Shimla,” the court observed in its four-page order. Earlier, Devan K Khanna, Amicus Curiae had informed the court that even though not much illicit felling of trees was carried out on government land, it was rampant on private land.
“Firstly the tree is dried up by pouring acid on its roots and then felled, either by obtaining sanction in accordance with law – for felling of dried trees permissions are granted – or by adopting illegal means, more so during the monsoon/winter season, so as to make it appear that it is on account of natural calamity. The purpose is not to gain monetary benefits out of the timber converted from the trees but to raise construction over the land which is cleared after the tree is felled,” he said
The court directed the Chief Secretary to ensure that the order in Ambhimanyu Rathore case be implemented “in letter and spirit,” every tree within Shimla Municipal limits, of all species, be it on government or private land is implanted with the radio frequency identification tags; adequate staff is deputed for checking illegal felling of trees, more so over private land; felling and disposal of timber if so required in accordance with law, be carried out only by the government agency; and mapping of forest cover/growth of the town by using drone/satellite by associating department of Environment, Science and Technology, Shimla is carried out at the earliest.
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