In several parts of Uttarakhand , eighty percent of which is covered by green forests illegal, arbitrary and clandestine activities of felling of fully grown up trees in collusion with the forest officials, the influential wood contractors and politicians is on the rise posing grave threat to the ecology and environment of the Himalayan State of Uttarakhand.
Geografically being a tremendously wide area having huge jungles majority of the illegal fully grown green tree cutting activities go unnoticed butthanks to some responsible roaming journalists like Ashutosh Negi who while risking their own lives expose such unholy nexus of the forest officials and wooden mafias and help in applying checks and regulation on these illegal actions. What makes things worrisome and deplorable is the fact that the environmentalists, ecologists and social activists, particularly those active in Uttarakhand and seeking self publicity in the name of environment conservation hardly take notice of such news and act accordingly.
The recent shocking revelation about the large scale permission for arbitrary cutting good number of about 283 trees with 49 fully grown up green trees already dismantled and taken out of the vicinity by timber businessmen to seek ample profits at the cost of the UK hills’ environment and ecology in the Lansedown fotest division has created furore in Uttarakhand inviting the attention of opposition political parties and the electronics and the print media as well.
The party involved in this illegal exercise in order to discourage the whistle blower has managed to manipulate the local police and succeeded in registering an FIR against the journalist on fake and fabricated grounds complaining of extortion but on the contrary the courageous investigative journalist of JAGO UTTARAKHAND Ashutosh posesses a prima facie video with a verbal statement of the DFO Sant Ram, Lansedown sub division addmitting in camera of the wrong doing under the pressure of the high up, probably the minister of the department concerned.
The local media, particularly the print media which was shy and complacent in the beginning has now come out in the open to report the matter, particularly after the Conservator of forests Lansdowne range Meenakshi Joshi issuing a strict show cause notice to the DFO Sant Ram questioning him the reasons for issuing permission for the supposed cutting of 289 green trees and subsequently cancelling the same.
As a result the highly disturbed DFO not only desperately cancelled the permissions granted earlier but also instituted an enquiry to safeguard his own position. According to the investigative journalist of JAGO UTTARAKHAND Ashutosh Negi the DFO has issued arbitrary sanction to over 26 timber merchants for the cutting of over 283 tree, 49 of which has already been erased from the ground and smuggled outside the state. In the video the DFO has addmitted that he was constrained to give permission n the pressure of a high up of the forest department on the request of a district level BJP leader of Kotdwar.
The matter gained excessive attention after JAGO UTTARAKHAND POSTED THE LIVE VEDIO ON FB AND TWITTER which simultaneously went viral. Some of the news channels also highlighted the controversy and the UPCC presdent Pitam Singh and Secretary Azad Ali met the governor of UK Dr. KK Paul bringing the issue to his notice asking for penalisation of the guilty officials and culprits.