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TH Impact: NGT takes cognisance of The Hindu article on trees chopped and burnt near Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu


The article in ‘The Hindu’ on May 14, 2024, highlighted that the Mundrote Forest Range, where the alleged illegal activity took place, is known for its rich flora, including 6,000 species of trees and plants.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken suo moto cognisance of a report published by The Hinduthat several trees have allegedly been felled and burnt near the Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu district.

On May 14, The Hindu had published an article ‘Environment activists alarmed as trees chopped and burnt near Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu’. The article highlights that the Mundrote Forest Range, where the alleged illegal activity took place, is known for its rich flora, including 6,000 species of trees and plants. It further highlights that the burning of trees could have resulted in a forest fire with potentially serious ecological repercussions. The area is recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Karnataka and is characterized by dense evergreen forests that have largely remained untouched.

The bench has impleaded the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Karnataka, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change and Deputy Commissioner & District Magistrate, Kodagu district.

The environment activists in Kodagu had alleged that the accused have cleared more than five acres of reserve forest and also the Forest Department has failed to control this kind of activities over the time.

NGT order highlights major concerns

“As per the article, the Kodagu district is suffering from environmental issues for some time now. This year, amidst a severe drought, several trees were allegedly felled and burnt near the Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in the Mundrote Range of the Padinalkunadu Reserve Forest,” NGT stated in the order.

“The matter indicates violation of the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The news item raises substantial issue relating to compliance of the environmental norms and implementation of the provisions of scheduled enactment,” the NGT order noted.

Meanwhile, following The Hindu report, on May 15, Karnataka Forest Minister Eshwar B Khandre had ordered a probe led by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, into alleged felling and burning of several trees.

In an order dated May 15, Mr. Khandre stated that the media has highlighted the cutting down of numerous trees. According to the order, officials failed to apprise the Minister of the same.

“Immediately, an Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest-level official should be sent to the spot to investigate how many trees have been cut, and submit a geo-tagged video and report in the next three days,” he stated. The Minister has also stated that disciplinary action is to be taken against officials who failed to inform his office about the incident.



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