Daun Kalan panchayat axes 40 trees without permission
Even as the Punjab government is planting 550 saplings in each village of Punjab to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Daun Kalan village panchayat axed at least 40 full-grown trees to clear space for a cremation ground without seeking the administration’s nod.
The trees, which include babool, Himalayan poplar, palaash, neem and sheesham, were axed on Tuesday and Wednesday and sold to a contractor, as per the villagers.
Confirming the incident, sarpanch Balbir Singh said, “We need more space in the cremation ground. Thus, the committee that runs the cremation ground decided to chop the trees. We sold the wood for ₹40,000. This is not a big issue.”
The panchayat axed these trees without obtaining mandatory approval or compensating the tree cover. On why they did not seek approval for the same, the sarpanch said, “It was just a few trees so we did not seek permission from the department concerned.”
Hari Singh, a village resident said, the trees had been planted over an area of 10 kanals around 40 years ago.
Patiala district forest officer Harbhajan Singh said, “If the trees were felled from panchayat land, the villagers should have sought permission from the department that holds jurisdiction over the land. The concerned department would have fixed the reserve price of trees for auction.”
“If the panchayat did not obtain any approval then strict action will be taken against the panchayat. The sarpanch can also be suspended.”
Patiala deputy commissioner Kumar Amit said, “We will launch an inquiry into the matter and strict action will be taken if it emerges protocol was flouted.”