Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 16 June 2021 6.26 AM IST

When trees are cut and celebrated


No permission is required to cut down trees other than sandalwood on the land inherited or bought by a person. When the sandalwood grows big, it is usual that thieves cut it down without the knowledge of the owner and officials. Now the controversy is over the cutting of rose wood tree from the land with Pattayams (Title deeds). In some districts, adivasis and others have been given land adjoining to forest lands.
Years old rosewood and teak trees grow in these places. The Revenue Department will prepare a list of trees to be reserved to the Government when the Government issues a lease. They should not be cut.

But on October 24, 2020, the Principal Secretary of Revenue issued an order. That order set the stage for widespread logging. '' The order was that the farmer don’t need to obtain special permission to cut down trees other than the reserved sandalwood by paying the price of the tree at the time of planting. Another sentence written along with this order raises the question of whether the government has been taken over by the forest mafia. 'The sentence was that strict disciplinary action would be taken against the officer who prevented the farmer from cutting down trees from such leased land.

Why a sentence like this in the order? It was in the name of this text that the people behind the smuggling of timber scolded the officials. They honored and encouraged the officers who took the money and issued the pass. Some range officers refused to issue passes. They were threatened and a complaint was lodged with the Principal Secretary of Revenue against them and they approached the court. The order was subsequently quashed.
There is no way that the Revenue Principal Secretary alone can be behind this order which was issued six months before the election. It is impossible to include the line that strict action will be taken against an official who blocks a wooden room without the support of the political leadership. Those behind it, political leaders, bureaucrats or people of the forest mafia, are still under cover. They are the ones who conspired to issue such an order, which resulted in smuggling billions of rupees across the state. In any case, they remain in obscurity and escape without any damage. Still, it's just the tip of the iceberg. The deep-rooted roots of corruption will remain untouched. That is, treatment that roots out the causes of the disease do not work. As a result, years later, the news of another deforestation may be heard again. In the meantime, it is commendable that some district collectors and some rangers in the forest department have taken a tough stand. If they were not there, the forest land besides the ‘Pattaya’ land would have become barren.

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