Environment organizations demand CBI probe into tree cutting in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram

Environment organizations in Kerala demanded a CBI inquiry into the felling of trees at Muttil in Wayanad and elsewhere across the state. In a joint statement, the organizations alleged that the March 11 circular of the Revenue Department and the October 24, 2020 order are illegal.

The state government on June 12 constituted a special investigation team after a controversy erupted over large-scale felling and smuggling of over a century-old shisham and teak trees elsewhere in Wayanad. It is alleged that timber mafia has felled trees.

The organizations said in a joint statement, “The government is of the view that there is no need to examine the circumstances under which these orders were issued.” These orders are a challenge to the justice system. There is no doubt that the revenue and forest ministers and officials are behind the illegal order allowing felling of trees. After this order, the protected trees were felled.

The organizations have demanded necessary amendments in the law in an honest, effective and transparent manner so that farmers get the right to cut trees legally from their designated land. Meanwhile, the monitoring wing of the forest department has submitted its report to the government. The department has said that about 15 crore trees were cut in districts including Wayanad, Idukki and Thrissur in a wrong interpretation of the government order.