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Manipur forest department penalizes PWD for felling tree, asks to plant 20 saplings

  Manipur Forest Department has directed the officials of Public Works Department to plant 20 saplings for felling a tree in Imphal last Friday.

The Division Forest Officer (Central Forest Division) of state forest department issued an order directing PWD officials or its representative whichever is applicable “to plant 20 number of saplings at appropriate locations preferably in the greater Imphal area along a roadside with proper tree guards to protect the saplings.”

The directive was given after a tree on the roadside near Johnstone School in Imphal town had been felled and uprooted by PWD officials or their representatives without obtaining prior approval from the competent authority, official sources said. The tree was felled in connection with the construction of a foot over bridge.

The officials and representatives are also directed to pay the value of the tree that has been felled after being assessed by the Range Forest Officer, Sadar East and it will be deposited to the government exchequer in the form of forest revenue, the source said.

It also directed to submit a report along with photographs after the completion of the plantation “positively” on or before October 5, 2019.

In Manipur, felling of trees without proper permit is against the provisions of the “Guidelines for felling of trees from non-forest area of Manipur,” and Supreme Court order of 1995.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the state PWD when contacted said they will look into the matter and will do the needful if required.

In another development, the Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Committee Manipur in a press statement on Saturday expressed serious concern over the report of the fallen tree in the heart of the state capital while the state government is encouraging mass tree plantation and protection of forest under Chief Minister’s ‘Green Mission Manipur’.

A 9-year-old Manipuri girl Valentina Elangbam who shed copious tears after two trees she planted was cut down, was even named brand ambassador of the Mission last month.It may be recalled that Manipur had increased its forest cover to 263 sq. km. from 2015,as per India’s state of forest report 2017.