About us Subscription | Guest Book | Contact us


News & Views on the Revolutionary Left

75,000 trees along 70-km stretch of road felled to pre-empt Naxal ambush

Trees latest casualty in fight against Naxals

Chhattisgarh: 75,000 trees along 70-km stretch of road felled to pre-empt Naxal ambush, no permission from Environment dept

RAIPUR, JANUARY 7 : Trees are becoming unwitting victims in Chhattisgarh’s fight against Naxalites. After orders from security forces engaged in the battle against the extremists, over 75,000 trees have been chopped off along the roads in Naxal-affected Bastar and Dantewara districts.

Felled tree trunks, branches and foliage can be seen all along the roads from Sukma towards Dornapal and from Konta towards Bijapur. These roads are mostly used by security force convoys and by various governmental agencies to transport essential materials to the strife-torn areas.

The felling, which began a few weeks ago, is continuing without any permission from the Environment Department. Senior officials in the department have confirmed that the security forces have asked the Forest Department to chop down the trees to avoid Naxalite ambushes. “Work on felling trees along a 70-km stretch of road in the area, up to 100 metres deep on each side of the roads, is going on in full swing and is expected to be completed before the monsoon,” a senior official stated. The felling on other stretches is also likely to begin soon and the number of felled trees is also likely to increase manifold.

DGP O P Rathor confirmed that the felling was taking place in Naxal-affected districts of Bastar and Dantewara in an effort to bring down casualty numbers. “We want to save our personnel from any ambush,” he said. Chhattisgarh DGP claimed that no clearance was required for felling trees in these areas as it was being done in the national interest.

Meanwhile, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests R N Mishra feigned ignorance of such large-scale felling of trees. “I don’t have any knowledge regarding the issue,” he claimed adding he would seek a status report on the issue.

However, this isn’t the first time that such large-scale felling of trees has been reported from these areas. The Indian Express, had early last year reported that around 15,000 trees were felled by authorities, without the requisite permission, around the Salwa Judum camps in these districts to avoid any surprise attacks on these camps.

“This time the number of trees felled is so large as entire stretches along roads frequented by security force convoys are being cleared of trees and shrubs,” an official pointed out.

Environmentalists too have expressed shock. “Has the government even bothered to do any environmental impact study? Virgin forest is being chopped off without any provision for compensatory plantation or assessing its impact on the local tribal population and wildlife who are solely dependent on these forests,” stated V K Gupta, an environmentalist working in the area.


Labels: , ,

posted by Bimal 10.1.07,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Posts(atom) Home