Stop unbridled felling of trees in Kathua

Can illegal and wanton felling of trees be allowed with impunity not only in Kathua but anywhere in the State and if so, at what price must have surely weighed very seriously with the State Information Commission to ask the concerned authorities of the Forest Department to find out the reasons thereof by instituting an inquiry into felling of trees in Kathua on reportedly such a large scale. The question is as to how this unbridled loot of the green gold could be possible without the explicit and implicit connivance of the officials otherwise responsible to protect them. They must be identified and not only action taken against them but the cost thereof too recovered from them. There cannot be any merciless act against the sanctity of nature as the wanton felling of trees. In fact, about felling of trees, there should be no classification of permitted or sanctioned conditions unless allowed under extreme and unavoidable circumstances.
If complicity and connivance of the Forest officials and those of concerned departments is not there, why should the critical information about the issue be withheld whether about the preliminary findings or in respect of the report by the concerned Tehsildar of Mahanpur? Appeals by the concerned applicant before the Information Commission challenging the pleas of “no trees felled” were heard wherein the appellant produced documentary evidence of over 6300 trees having been axed. That opens the cupboards of those who were interested in the racket and were hiding the information.
The other fact came into light that as against ‘sanctioned’ 6036 trees, as many as 15274 trees were felled. Were so many trees really sanctioned for felling and who authorised the same must be found out. In any way, we want that the growing urge of axing trees and clearing forest area of them instead of replanting and replenishing and paving the way for encroachments, erecting residential and commercial buildings thereon must be discouraged very strictly, In the meantime, the report of the Tehsildar too must be given due attention. Let us wait and watch as to what are the findings of the inquiry ordered by the Information Commissioner into the entire matter and what action is taken.