TH Impact: NGT takes cognizance of The Hindu article on trees felled, burnt near Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu
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TH Impact: NGT takes cognizance of The Hindu article on trees felled, burnt near Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu

The principal bench of the National Environmental Tribunal (NGT) ex officio considered the report published by This Hinduthat several trees were allegedly cut and burnt near the Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu district.

May 14 This Hindu published an article, “Environmental activists concerned about felling and burning of trees near Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu.” The article 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. It further highlighted that the burning of trees could have led to a forest fire with potentially serious ecological repercussions. The area is recognised as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Karnataka and is characterised by dense evergreen forests that have remained largely untouched.

The court appointed the Chief Conservator of Forests of Karnataka, the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate of Kodagu District.

Environment activists in Kodagu alleged that the accused had cleared over five acres of reserve forest and the Forest Department had failed to control such activities for a long time.

NGT order highlights major concerns

“As per the article, Kodagu district has been grappling with environmental problems for some time now. This year, during severe drought, several trees were allegedly cut and burnt near Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Mundrote range of Padinalkunadu reserve forest area,” the NGT said in its order.

“The case alleges violation of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The article raises a significant issue regarding compliance of environmental norms and implementation of the provisions of the scheduled legislation,” the NGT order noted.

Meanwhile, after This Hindu According to reports, on May 15, Karnataka Forest Minister Eshwar B. Khandre ordered an inquiry under the chairmanship of the Additional Chief Conservator of Forests into the alleged felling and burning of several trees.

In an order dated May 15, Mr. Khandre said the media had given much publicity to the felling of many trees. According to the order, officials had failed to inform the minister.

“An additional chief conservator of forests official should be immediately sent to the spot to investigate how many trees have been felled and send a geotagged video and a report within the next three days,” he said. The minister also said disciplinary action should be taken against officials who failed to inform his office about the incident.

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