In a violation of the laws they are supposed to implement, the district transport officer (DTO) Anil Kumar Garg and sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) KPS Mohi chopped off fully-grown trees from outside and inside their official residences in Officers Colony, Rakh Bagh, on Sunday.
After chopping off, the axed part of the trees were sent to an undisclosed place by loading it in a mini-truck.
People witnessed that some people were chopping off trees outside the residences of the officials, near Rakh Bagh, and raised the issue.
But, when contacted, the officers concerned came up with different statements. Initially, DTO Anil Kumar Garg feigned ignorance over the issue. Later, he came up with the statement that he had not chopped off the trees; they were just pruned for letting proper sunlight to enter the house. When asked that had he taken permission from the municipal corporation (MC), the DTO said he had taken permission. SDM KPS Mahi had come up with the same statement when asked. He said they had taken prior permission from the corporation.
When they were told that no one can cut even a branch of the tree, if its diameter extends up to 9cm, the officers said they were not aware about the terms.
Contrary to their statements, joint commissioner PS Ghumman said he was not aware of it. When the matter was brought to the knowledge of MC commissioner and deputy commissioner, the MC had sent its officials on the spot for investigation.
Driver of the mini truck had also shown a hand-written slip issued by the DTO’s driver. He said the officers had asked him to keep the slip with him, and to show if someone asked him.