Dharamsala, January 21
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has ordered district officials of Kangra to immediately stop the felling of green trees along the Dharamsala-Bagli road. The CM issued orders to this effect after a delegation of people met him at the Circuit House here this evening to plead against the felling of trees.
The CM also ordered the officials to look into the possibility of translocating the trees to another location.
Vice-Chairman of the Forest Corporation, Kewal Singh Pathania, who was also present, said after the CM’s orders to the forest corporation to immediately stop felling of green trees, they would look into the possibility of their translocation.
Common people, including residents of Bagli village, had raised their voice against felling of old mango, banyan and peepal trees by the Forest Corporation on Dharamsala-Bagli and Dharamsala-Gaggal roads.
They gathered at Bagli and held a demonstration today.
Manshi, a resident of Palampur, talking to The Tribune, said she came to know about the felling of old mango trees on the said roads from a report in The Tribune. It is criminal on the part of the Forest Corporation to fell so many green trees, it was stated.
She said, “Today, we visited the site where trees were being felled. We found that many huge mango and banyan trees were felled without any valid reason.”
Anupama, another resident of Palampur, who had come to join the protest, said the trees were being felled in the name of widening the road. A survey revealed that until the buildings along the road were demolished, the road could not be widened. It seems the Forest Department officials have erred in judgement over the selection of trees that need to be felled for minor widening of the road, she said.
Ramesh Mastana, another protester, said they would educate the youth and other sections of society so that they raise their voice against felling of green trees.
He alleged the Forest Department had not taken the Bagli panchayat into confidence before felling the trees that was mandatory as per law.
The protesters also went to the office of the DFO, Dharamsala, to plead against the felling of green trees.
Manshi said the DFO refused to take up the responsibility for felling of green trees. “He told us that the trees belonged to the PWD and the forest corporation was felling them on the request of the department,” she said.
The DFO was not available for comment despite repeated calls.
The activists later met the Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, Paul Rasu and demanded that a committee should be set up to look into the need for felling green trees. Till the committee arrives at a conclusion, the trees should not be felled, they demanded. The DC assured he would look into the demands of the protesters.
The forest corporation was in the process of felling about 200 old mango, peepal and banyan trees.
It is also being stated that the state forest authorities can save these trees by translocating them to other places.