Shimla: Himachal Pradesh unit of CPI(M) has accused the state government of shielding the culprits in mass illegal tree felling near Taradevi temple in the outskirts of Shimla and demanded removal of state Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmauri, followed by a judicial enquiry into the matter.
"We are asking the chief minister to sack the forest minister for making such an irresponsible statement that the felling of trees on private land was not banned and feel that no impartial enquiry can be conduct till he resigns, a spokesman of CPI(M) said.
The party alleged that it appears that the minister knew the trees are being axed and even otherwise such large-scale felling of trees near Shimla could not have been possible without tacit understanding and support of forest officials, who did not take timely action to stop illegal feeling of trees and as such we demand a judicial enquiry into the whole episode", the spokesman added.
The spokesman further said that the transfer of Shimla Conservator Sanjay Sood on November 26 in the backdrop of illegal felling of 477 trees and suspension of three forest officials, including divisional forest officer Vinod Sharma was a belated action.
The action came after the National Green Tribunal took suo motu cognisance of media reports about illegal felling of the trees and issued notice to the chief secretary and the principal secretary (forests) to file their reply before Jan 8, the next date of hearing, he said.
A case has been registered against Parminder Kaur, the owner of the?land in the Tara Devi temple area.
Principal Secretary (Forests) Tarun Shridhar told reporters that a team of forest officials visited the site and found that 477 trees, including deodar and oak, had been axed.
The opposition BJP has also demanded a probe into the incident by a sitting judge of the high court.