<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thousands of trees at the Purna Sanctuary in Dangs were illegally chopped between 2016 and 2017 and several Forest Department officials have even paid for the illegal activity, a former employee of the department alleged in a public interest litigation.The illegal chopping violates the Wildlife Protection Act and Forest Act, the petition says.Nathubhai Desai, who worked as an assistant conservator of Forest with the Dangs till 2014 said thousands of trees have been chopped in the sanctuary between 2014 and 2017.Desai had filed the report with the Deputy Conservator of forest and also informed his seniors in 2016. Neither any action was taken, nor a FIR was lodged.The petition was heard by the first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and justice Vipul Pancholi on Friday. The court has adjourned the matter till November 28.However, the chief justice inquired that while serious allegations are made against two forest officers, why was no response made to the appeal? Petitioner’s advocate Vijay Nagesh assured the court that they will be joined as a party in the petition.According to Desai, around 455 trees were illegally cut and made into 1015 logs between January 2014 and 2015. However, Desai was informed under RTI that the forest department had paid Rs 2,93,000 for the work. The logs would worth Rs 1 crore in the market, sources said.The cutting of a dry tree is also illegal under Purna Wild Life Sanctuary Management Plan, the petition added. The tree cutting in wildlife sanctuary is in violation of Section 29, 35(6) of the Wild Life Protection Act.The petitioners pleaded the court that it should ask the state to inquire into his allegations and take action against the officials who had given permission for the felling of the trees.CHARGES MADENathubhai Desai, who worked as an assistant conservator of Forest with the Dangs till 2014 said thousands of trees have been chopped in the sanctuary between 2014 and 2017.
According to Desai, around 455 trees were illegally cut and made into 1015 logs. Forest department allegedly paid Rs 2,93,000 for the work.
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