Two hoteliers in dock for illegal felling of trees in McLeodganj

  • Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times, Dharmashala
  • Updated: Dec 21, 2015 20:15 IST

The police, following orders by the court of civil judge (junior division), have booked two “influential” hoteliers for felling trees in Bhagsunag area on the outskirts of McLeodganj.

The case has been registered under Section 211 of the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Council Act, 1994, on the complaints of green activist Gazalla Abdullah, who had approached the Dharamshala municipal council alleging that tree felling was continuing in the Bhagsunag area despite a ban imposed by the Himachal Pradesh high court.

According to the complaint, the hoteliers in November were carrying out cutting of a hillside on their personal land for construction of a hotel. In the process many deodar trees were felled due to a landslide on the site.

Besides the MC, Abdullah, a resident of McLeodganj, had also submitted a complaint to the district administration and police.

Acting on the complaint, deputy commissioner (DC) Ritesh Chauhan had sent a joint team of police, revenue and municipal officials for inspection of the land, and the complaint was found to be true.

The DC had then directed the MC to move court to get a case registered.

When reached, Kangra superintendent of police (SP) Abhishek Dular confirmed registration of a case. The top cop said the police might also register a case under the Contempt of Courts Act as the trees were felled despite an HC ban.

Meanwhile, sources said the newly formed Dharamshala MC had already forwarded a contempt report to the HC, where the matter of illegal felling of trees in McLeodganj is sub-judice.

Taking cognizance of a complaint by Abdullah regarding large-scale tree felling in McLeodganj, the HC, earlier this year, had imposed a ban on axing of trees in the state.

Later, the HC had also seized the powers of the deputy commissioners in the state to grant permissions for felling trees on private lands.

In October, the illegal axing of a 100-year-old Deodar tree in McLeodganj had prompted the HC to make the DC, SP and principal secretary, forests, personally liable for implementing the court ban.

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