Will move NGT if Govt fails to act on axing of trees: RTI Movement

Jammu and Kashmir RTI Movement Friday demanded that the “culprits”, particularly the construction company, and local government agencies that had paved way for cutting down of 340 green trees near Zojila Tunnel in Sonmarg area be taken to task as the action was an open violation of forest and environmental laws.

In a statement issued here, Chairman RTI Movement Raja MuzaffarBhat said that stern action should be taken against the company and the government officials who were “involved” in this criminal act.

He said that RTI Movement would move to National Green Tribunal (NGT) if the government failed to act against the culprits.

“By punishing a lower rung officer of the Forest department and attaching him with the DFO’s office in Ganderbal is mockery. An independent probe should be held into this entire issue and real culprits identified. In the past too, private construction companies axed thousands of trees in PirPanchal forests of Shopian, Poonch and Budgam while laying of SamaAmargad transmission line but till date no probe was constituted on how many trees were actually allowed to be axed and how much amount was realised as compensation from the company,” Bhat said in the statement.

He said that if the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) had not given permission to the axing of 340 trees near Zojila Tunnel site, how the company went ahead with the “mass slaughter” of so many trees.

“We may be forced to file a complaint before the NGT if the government doesn’t act against the culprits,” the statement read.