Graft in tree felling for NH: NECF complains to Lokayukta

Source: PTI | Published on 4th October 2022, 12:46 PM | Coastal News | Don't Miss |

Mangaluru: The National Environment Care Federation (NECF) has accused the forest department of undervaluing the trees to be felled for the four-lane development work on the Bikkarnakatte-Sanoor stretch of National Highway 169.

The NECF has lodged complaints with the Lokayukta Mangaluru SP and the deputy forest conservator in this regard.

Around 50 trees have already been felled for the project, while further cutting of trees have been stalled on the instructions of Lokayukta police, NECF secretary Shashidhar Shetty said in a statement here.

NECF says that the forest department has given permission to cut 1,227 trees from Kulshekar to Sanoor for the National Highway work. The value fixed for felling the trees has been fixed at Rs 13.61 lakh, calculating the price of each tree to a meagre Rs 1,113, while the actual price may cross Rs 1.5 lakh for a tree, the complaint said.

The NHAI has paid Rs 91.34 lakh to the forest department for the felling, which include the price of trees (Rs 13.61 lakh) and Rs 74.12 lakh for compensatory replantation with 12,270 plants (10 plants for each tree cut).

The NECF alleges that the measurement of the girth and height of trees by the forest department is grossly incorrect and more than 10 per cent less than the actual measurement.

A committee formed by the Supreme Court has fixed guidelines for revaluation of trees to be cut for development works. The forest department has not gone by the guidelines in this case, says the NECF in the complaint.

Instead of trying to save the trees by way of shifting or saving them on the median, the forest department officials are hand in glove with the timber mafia and are bent on felling the trees, the complaint alleged. 

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