Thousands of green trees fell under the nose of Forest Dept: Himachal HC takes suo motu cognizance

Himachal Pradesh High Court today took suo moto cognizance on a public interest litigation which states that under the nose of the Forest Dept thousand of the green tree were felled in the Nachan forest range of Mandi district.

The Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice, M.S. Ramachandra Rao, and Justice Ajay Mohan Goe passed this order on a petition taken up suo moto by the Court as PIL, on a letter addressed to the Chief Justice, by one Sh. Raju resident of VPO Chail Chowk District Mandi. 

HC  also constituted a committee comprising the Deputy Commissioner, Mandi, the Superintendent of Police, Mandi, and the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Mandi to look into the allegations with regard to illegal felling of forest trees in forest Division Nachan, District Mandi. 

The petitioner has alleged that at the behest of DFO Nachan, who is posted as such, for more than five years, thousands of green trees have been cut down in many forest areas of Forest Division Nachan. 

The petitioner has further alleged that roads have been constructed illegally by cutting trees from extremely dense forests without clearance under the Forest Conservation Act. 

The forest area has been destroyed despite having a sanctuary region of about 10 Km radius of Shikari Devi- Dehar Road. 

It has been further alleged that on the behest of DFO, a ground has been constructed at Chail Chowk, at a distance of about 100 meters from Rest House by destroying about 500 green trees. 

The petitioner has prayed to take action against DFO to stop the devastation and to save the forest, the environment, and government money. 

The respondents have disputed the allegations leveled by the petitioner in the reply filed by them. Therefore, the Court has directed the Committee, so constituted, to verify whether the claims made in the reply filed by the respondents are true or not. The Committee has been further directed to file its report within three months.

 The matter would be listed for the next hearing on October 10, 2023.

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