Tree felling in Kandi belt: NGT summons Punjab IFS officer on April 6
The NGT is hearing a petition against Kumar for issuing orders for felling of trees in the kandi (sub-mountainous) belt of Mohali district in January this year, despite it ordering a blanket ban on tree felling in the area.punjab Updated: Mar 25, 2018 15:52 IST
Taking strong exception to the non-appearance of Punjab-cadre Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Harsh Kumar in its court twice now, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has summoned the officer on April 6.
The NGT is hearing a petition against Kumar for issuing orders for felling of trees in the kandi (sub-mountainous) belt of Mohali district in January this year, despite it ordering a blanket ban on tree felling in the area. Sangrur resident Amandeep Aggarwal had filed the case against Kumar, who is now posted as chief conservator (information technology).
On March 21, Kumar’s counsel Nikhilesh Kumar informed the NGT that he could not appear as his father was critically ill and sought exemption from his personal appearance, at Delhi. In its orders, uploaded on March 24, the NGT panel that justice Jawad Rahim heads, said, “The state of Punjab and also the other contesting parties rightly submit that the officer concerned has shown disgraceful conduct. This tribunal’s indulgence to recall the non-bailable warrant has been misused. The officer has, without filing any application remained absent.”
Kumar’s advocate had told the court that he will file a detailed affidavit, narrating the circumstances and giving reasons on why the officer could not be present and assured the tribunal that such conduct would not be repeated.
“Only on such assurance, we would like to give one more opportunity to the officer concerned and make it clear that any lapse on his part will expose him to penal action, as may be legally permissible,” the order states.
The petitioner Aggarwal said, “During his posting as chief conservator (hills), Kumar ordered allowed some landowners in the Kandi belt to cut trees in the area after February, despite a NGT ban being in place. The court has taken strong note of the officer’s absence without any application and he has been asked to explain the reasons for his absence.”