Punish fellers of trees in Kathua district

Had it been not pointed out astoundingly by the Jammu and Kashmir State Information Commission following filing of second appeal before it , perhaps felling of trees on a massive scale in Kathua district of Jammu division would have never got vividly surfaced . This is strangely so because the matter was, ab-initio, reportedly tried to be hushed up by the officers of the Social Forestry Department and even incorrect and false information wilfully given regarding the number of trees axed. That a bizarre nexus between the Forest officials and the contractor in the shoddy affair of the loot should not go without proper action , is what was expected and on those very lines, the Information Commission wanted the government to proceed in the matter.
However, it looks beyond expectations that under Governor’s administration, no enquiry has been instituted so far to unravel the whole gamut of the large scale felling of trees and though the officers responsible for and without the active connivance of whom the loot of green gold would have not taken place , having been duly identified as also the contractor who executed the plan in mercilessly axing the trees, continue to remain outside the tight grip of the law of the land. But why?
Did the Committee of Forest officials including the DFO , Social Forestry in its report submitted during the proceedings of the Commission give correct number of trees felled is not that important at the moment as it is that the same DFO of the Division Kathua challenging the accuracy of the report that as against the sanctioned extraction of 6036 trees , as many as 15274 trees were felled and when he was asked for his stand, nay the “conduct ” and the reasons of his dual stand, the officer supposed to speak facts , logic and give correct version, justified his stand on the ground that he had not personally visited the spot but had gathered the information from his junior officer who had been there hence signing the report. ‘Excelsior’ has few days back, dealt with this serious issue through these columns and highlighted the role of the TehsildarMahanpur who submitted his report as he had been deputed to the spot for physical verification . Trees more than even 15274 have , in fact been felled which is too serious a matter for a state known for its forest wealth but presently the forests having been grossly violated not only by unabated illegal felling but encroachment of thousands of kanals of forest land.
What does this all mean , is not easy to understand excepting the entire humbug around the issue pointing towards the collusion, connivance and the conspiracy between the officials and the contractor with intent to share the booty collected from the loot of the green gold of the area .The government too seems to side-line the recommendations of the State Information Commission for which it could have some reason, but definitely not in respect of the unbridled loot of the green gold .
Should this all not be probed into comprehensively and in quickest possible time to expose all those involved and punish them effectively? We know the irregular practices , loots, embezzlements and scams in state run departments are surfacing at an alarming rate in this state and perhaps still more may be never travelling beyond the four walls of many departments and to cope with them or to have matching response under the law of the land must be not that easy for the state administration but sleeping over such sensitive and critical issues or taking actions belatedly and through long and time consuming processes would only embolden prospective dishonest and disloyal employees. Loyalty to the Department or office from where a state employee was earning one’s bread and butter, demands impeccable honesty and proven integrity of highest order.
Just when prospects of having issues, as under reference, probed into , the entire air of accountability is confused by furnishing misleading , conflicting, manipulated reports and information to obfuscate the process of subjecting the guilty to the confines of justice . That has got to be pre-empted by the Governor’s administration.