The Fact News Service
New Delhi, July 2
National Green Tribunal (NGT), New Delhi has directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), Punjab to look into grievance of Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate H.C. Arora, pertaining to illegal felling of 176 fully grown trees in village Roshanpur, Block-Bhunar Heri (District-Patiala).
The NGT, in its order dated 30.6.2021, has observed that “Undoubtedly, cutting of trees can be allowed only for some valid justification after requisite clearance under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. Such action adversely affects the environment. Thus, the grievance needs to be looked into and further remedial action taken by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), Punjab, in accordance with law.”
Arora, in his original application filed in the NGT, had alleged that Gram Panchayat, Roshanpur village (Patiala)had got the price of 176 trees of various species, assessed from Divisional Forest Officer, Patiala for an amount of Rs.2.60 lakhs, as reserve price.
However, the joint inspection team of Gram Panchayat and Forest Department, deliberately did not include about 20 Neem trees in its inspection, but those Neem Trees were also cut down, in a fraudulent manner, thereby misappropriating Government funds.
He had also alleged that all fully grown trees standing in premises of local Government School were cut down and sold, without any justification. He had also enclosed certain photographs of the cut down trees, with his Original Application.
No public auction for selling trees was conducted, thereby selling the trees in a hush hush manner. All trees were suddenly cut down within two days ,i.e., June 18th, and June 19th, 2021, His appeals to Chief Minister, Punjab, and Secretary, School Education, seeking their intervention, did not get any response.