Officer accused of felling trees that are still standing: Probe - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Officer accused of felling trees that are still standing: Probe


Officer accused of felling trees that are still standing: Probe

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12

An Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer accused in a tree felling case in the Kandi belt of Mohali district was found “not guilty” in a probe conducted by the Union Ministry of Environments, Forests and Climate Change.

On the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Chandigarh regional office of the ministry was asked to probe a complaint of IFS officer Harsh Kumar issuing orders, directing the divisional forest officer to allow the felling of trees in Jyanti Majri village and some other places despite a blanket ban on the activity.

A Sangrur-based environmentalist, Amandeep Aggarwal, had moved the NGT in November last year against the IFS officer for passing the allegedly illegal order.

The NGT has summoned the IFS officer on February 26, 2018, to explain the orders he issued for tree felling.

During the course of hearing, the state government had submitted that the Forest Department had timely cancelled the controversial letters issued by Harsh Kumar and subsequently, re-issued a notification for closing the area in 15 villages under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900.

The state Forest Department had stated that the letters issued by Harsh Kumar had the potential of allowing the land mafia to cause devastation in the area in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. However, still a chargesheet was issued by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to the IFS officer for permitting tree felling.

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