Felling of trees: Balaghat collector meets CM to clarify his stand | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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Felling of trees: Balaghat collector meets CM to clarify his stand

Balaghat collector V Kiran Gopal on Sunday met Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to clarify his position in the ongoing controversy regarding illegal felling of trees in the district.

bhopal Updated: Dec 28, 2015 17:54 IST

Balaghat collector V Kiran Gopal on Sunday met Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to clarify his position in the ongoing controversy regarding illegal felling of trees in the district even as the special investigation team (SIT) probing the issue is all set to visit the under construction house of the collector in West Godavari district.

The Balaghat police are probing the involvement of forests and district administration officials in granting permission for felling of trees on land owned by tribals in excess of what is allowed under law.

As per law, the collector is empowered to grant permission for felling.

A total of 13 FIRs have been registered in connection with the felling and 36 people have been named of which 24 have been arrested and 12 are absconding.

Sources in the police said that at least 20 more people may be booked in connection with the felling.

Sources said that Gopal, a 2008 batch IAS officer, posted as collector Balaghat for about 2 years met the CM and explained his position in the controversy.

Gopal had earlier met principal secretary to CM and chief secretary Anthony de Sa on Saturday for the same purpose. Gopal is learnt to have showed bills of timber he claimed he had procured for the construction of his house.

Meanwhile, sources added that the special investigation team (SIT) set up by the Balaghat police will visit the under construction house of the collector in West Godavari district very soon to verify if the timber used there is from legitimate sources.

The police have seized about 1,000 trees felled illegally from Rajnandgaon district in Chhatisgarh.

About 8,000-10,000 trees were felled illegally in the last 10 months as part of the racket, claimed police sources.

13 FIRs lodged

A total of 13 FIRs have been registered in connection with the felling and 36 people have been named of which 24 have been arrested and 12 are absconding

At least 20 more people may be booked in connection with the felling, police said

The police are probing the involvement of forests and district administration officials in granting permission for felling of trees on land owned by tribals.