Forest user group chiefs face illegal logging charge

- MOHAN SHAHI, Doti

Aug 10, 2014-

The District Forest Office (DFO) has filed a case at the District Court against 20 people, including office bearers of community forest users’ groups, on the charge of felling trees illegally.

The 20 people are accused of forming a committee comprising office bearers of various community forest user groups and forest officials and felling trees in the name of the under-construction 64.5 kilowatt Gadaseri Gadh Micro Hydropower Porject in Nirauli.

A team of DFO officials found on June 26 that 743 cubic feet timber in the hydropower site was felled illegally in the name of taking the high-tension line through forests. An engineer said a plan was devised to take electricity line through forests without seeking alternative options. He added that estimation was made during the survey under pressure that trees 300 feet far from the high-tension line should be felled.

The accused include Hydropower Construction Committee Chairman Gangaram Joshi, Gawar-based Malika Bhagawati Community Forest Users’ Group Chairman Khem Bahadur Saud, Lamaute-based Janajagriti Community Forest Users’ Group Chairman Bamdev Joshi, Telapara-based Trishul Hariyali Community Forest Users’ Group Chairman Basanta Rajbar, Barchhan-based Kedar Community Forest Users’ Group Chairman Padam Raj Joshi and Sirsi-based Gholdangi Community Forest Users’ Group Chairman Paramdhan Bhatta.

The DFO said the committee had called a meeting of the hydropower project on December 31, 2013 and decided to fell trees without taking permission from the DFO. Earlier, Joshi was released on a bail of Rs 150,000. District Forest Officer Pushpa Gautaula said they have identified the main accused but are yet to arrest them due to a lack of evidence.

Published: 11-08-2014 09:02

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