After hearing the Tara Devi tree felling case, in which 477 trees were axed, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday asked a landowner to deposit Rs. 20 lakh with the forest department and undertake plantation of 4,700 trees for reforestation.
The tribunal's Shimla bench, which was represented by its chairman, justice Swatanter Kumar, judicial member, Justice P Jyothimani and expert members GK Pandey and A.R. Yousuf, said also directed the Shimla superintendent of police to be present in the court on Friday and apprise it about the progress of investigations into the Taradevi incident.
The bench asked the owner of the land, Parminder Kaur, to deposit Rs. 20 lakh with the forest department while the total loss due to felling was assessed at around Rs 33 lakh. The tribunal also directed the forests department to draw up a complete plan for re forestation.
The bench also passed injunction against the owner that no non-forest activity could be carried out at the 38 'bighas' of land where in November 477 trees were axed. The bench also directed a notice be served to Amrik Singh Nagpal, director of a Chandigarh based firm, Pristine Hotels and Resorts and Praveen Sharma, who were arrested by the police in connection with this case, to appear before the bench on January 20 in New Delhi.
Earlier the government submitted a status report on the case and submitted that 476 trees were felled on private while one tree was felled on the government land. It also submitted that of the total of about 140 cubic meters of wood, 87.5 cubic meters were recovered and some of the wood was found burned. It also apprised the bench about the suspension of few forest officials.
Further, the bench recorded the statement of Kaur who stated she had no hand in tree felling but entered with an agreement with Nagpal. Kaur also claimed she had never signed a power of attorney agreement in favor of Sharma.