Environmental organisations demand CBI probe into tree felling in Kerala

·3-min read
Kerala Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan. (File Pic)
Kerala Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan. (File Pic)

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], June 27 (ANI): Amid the controversy over the felling of trees on revenue land in Wayanad, several environmental organisations demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter.

In a joint statement, about 50 environmental organizations in Kerala demanded a CBI probe into the illegal tree felling at Muttil in Wayanad as well as those from other assigned lands in various parts of Kerala.

They also raised the same demand in a letter submitted to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The environmental organizations alleged that the Revenue Department's Circular issued on March 11, 2020 and the controversial order dated October 20, 2020 were illegal and the government's position that there was no need to investigate the circumstances under which these orders were issued was a challenge to the judicial system.

"This is evident from the order dated February 2, quashing all the disputed orders. However, it is certain that any government inquiry into the matter would not bring out the truth, as the Chief Minister, who is also the Home Minister, the then Revenue Minister and the CPI (M) State Secretary had taken a stand that there was nothing wrong with the disputed orders that led to the looting of the trees," the statement read

"Therefore, the causes and circumstances that led to the looting of trees and all interventions involving the ministers, officials and parties involved should be investigated. It is in this context that a CBI inquiry into the matter is required," they demanded.

Similarly, they opined that it is unfortunate that such government action is being taken in the name of adivasis and farmers. The illegal act of the government has unfortunately caused many hardships to the adivasis and farmers who are holders of the patta, and they have been deceived and trapped.

The organizations also 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 legally do so from their assigned lands.

Earlier, on June 16, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held a demonstration in Kochi.

AN Radhakrishnan, BJP State Vice President said: "Pinarayi Vijayan government looted by felling huge trees which are 300 to 400 years old and the LDF gained about Rs 1,000 crore through this. Attempts are being made to suspend some officials when these incidents came to light. This is a scam done by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) before the last assembly elections."

On June 8, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders staged a walkout from the Kerala Assembly, alleging that the Left government was shielding culprits in the illegal mass felling and smuggling of trees by forest mafia in the revenue land allotted to farmers for agriculture in a tribal village in Wayanad.

Forest Minister AK Saseendran while giving details in the Assembly on the matter had said that 101 trees were cut down and the stolen wood is worth Rs 10 crore. He said that 41 cases have been registered in the matter so far. "The government has taken steps to book the culprits and that the forest officials have recovered woods from a sawmill at Perumbavoor in Ernakulam," the Minister said. (ANI)

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