Thiruvananthapuram, June 27 (PTI): Environmental organisations in Kerala on Sunday demanded a CBI probe into the felling of trees at Muttil in Wayanad and in other assigned lands across the State.
In a joint statement, the organisations alleged that the Revenue Department's March 11 circular and October 24, 2020, order were illegal.
In view of the controversy over the mass felling and smuggling of centuries-old rosewood trees from Wayanad and teakwood in others places allegedly by the timber mafia, the State government on June 12 set up a special investigation team to probe into the matter.
'The government's stand that there was no need to investigate into the circumstances under which these orders were issued was a challenge to the judicial system,' the joint statement said.
'There is no doubt that the Revenue and Forest Ministers and officials have been behind the illegal orders that allowed the felling of the protected trees,' it alleged.
Also, the organisations demanded that necessary amendments to the law be made in an honest, effective and transparent manner so as to give farmers the right to cut the trees that they can do that legally from their assigned lands.
Meanwhile, the Forest Department's vigilance wing submitted a report to the government sayingtrees worth Rs 15 crore were cut down from districts including Wayanad, Idukki and Thrissur allegedly by misinterpreting the government order.
The wing alleged lapses on the part of the Revenue officials.
But, the Revenue Minister K Rajan said the government was yet to receive any report.
The State government had earlier informed the Kerala High Court that a mafia was involved in felling of trees and what was revealed in the investigation was just the tip of the iceberg. PTI RRT NVG NVG