The Forest Department has instituted a State-wide probe into the allegations of illegal felling of government trees. The move comes against the backdrop of the department unearthing instances of unauthorised logging from assigned land in Wayanad.
Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran had announced the government’s decision to order a probe into the controversy in the Assembly two days ago.
Special investigation teams led by Divisional Forest Officers (DFO) in charge of flying squad divisions (FSD) have been constituted to examine cases of felling of reserved trees on land assigned under the Kerala Land Assignment Rules, 1964.
Formed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Vigilance and Forest Intelligence) Ganga Singh, the teams have been tasked with verifying documents, including declarations, passes, and no-objection certificates, issued for felling and transporting government trees from such ‘patta’ land from May 11 last onwards.
They will also verify the details of ‘property marks’, i.e. Forms III and IV issued under the Kerala Forest Produce Transit Rules, 1975 for the transport of timber etc., obtained from government trees from the same areas during the period.
In cases in which the documents of land are unavailable, the teams will collect and verify the same from the authority concerned to ensure the status of the land. They have been ordered to submit the final reports within June 22.
The teams assigned with the investigation in various districts will be headed by Shavanas A., DFO FSD, Thiruvananthapuram (Kasaragod, Kannur and Wayanad); Raju K. Francis, DFO FSD, Ernakulam (Kozhikode, Malappuram and Palakkad); Dhaneshkumar P., DFO FSD, Kozhikode (Thrissur and Ernakulam); Asif P.K., DFO FSD (Idukki and Kottayam); and Aneesh C.P., DFO FSD, Palakkad (Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram).
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