Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru (MS)
Mangaluru, Oct 3: National Environment Conservation Federation (NECF) has accused forest department of huge scam in the recounting of trees to be cut in the four lane development work of NH 169 from Bikkarnakatte to Sanur.
The NECF has filed complaint with the Lokayukta SP and deputy forest conservator of vigilance squad of forest department. So far, 50 trees are cut for the project. However, further cutting of trees is stalled on the instructions of Lokayukta police.
Giving details on the subject, Benedict D’Souza of NECF said, “The forest department has given permission to cut 1227 trees from Kulshekar to Sanur in order to develop national highway work. Cutting of trees from Gurpur to Mizar has already begun. The value fixed for the trees is very low.
“The forest department of Dakshina Kannada has fixed just Rs 13.61 lac for the 1227 trees, Rs 74.12 lac for nurturing 12,230 plants against the trees that are cut (10 plants for every tree cut) and survey fee of Rs 15.24 lac. NHAI has paid Rs 91.34 lac in total including other fees.
“Justice of Supreme Court S A Bobde had formed a committee for the revaluation of the trees to be cut in reference to a PIL. That committee has fixed guidelines for the revaluation. Accordingly, the value will be fixed based on the age of the tree. For every year, the value should be calculated at Rs 74500. The forest department has not calculated in this manner.
“Near Sooralpady, a huge jackfruit tree is cut. According to the RTI, forest department has given information that this tree is just two meters in height and 1.5 meters in diameter. But huge wooden logs are found on the spot. The information given by forest department is bundle of lies,” he said.
“Jackfruit tree fetches Rs 5000 per CFT in the market. The low cost shown by the forest department has led to suspicion. The department which has to protect the trees has joined hands with the looters,” said Shashidhar Shetty, state secretary of NECF.
Defending the action of forest department, Dr Dinesh Kumar Y K, deputy conservator of forest of DK said, “Before giving permission to cut trees, the estimate is done through eye gauging. Exact measurement is known only after the tree is cut. The wooden logs cut is measured perfectly and value is decided based on the same.”