Chennai: More skeletons are tumbling out after DC’s expose on unchecked poaching and tree felling in forest areas of southern districts particularly in Tirunelveli district. The forest department has started a probe into the serious charges that were brushed under the carpet by the local police. Most of the cases occurred outside the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger reserve and specific data related to the poaching cases are now being collected from the local police, sources said.
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Probe into poaching begins
Similarly complaints of tree-felling in the Kodaikanal reserve forests were ignored for over four years when the DMK was in power. Local wildlife activists are now raking up the issue with the state government, sources added.
“The villagers of Kodaikanal and neighbouring areas submitted a mass petition to the local forest officers and district collectorate in 2009 but till date only preliminary enquiries were conducted and there is no concrete action,” said Z. Joshua, wildlife enthusiast and a resident of Vadakavinchi in Kodaikanal.
The permission to cut trees are often misused and violated, but in a few cases alone a petty fine is collected, he said.
Following the regime change, local activists have taken up the issue again and details related to tree felling cases with specific survey numbers will be forwarded to senior officials seeking action, he said.
Kodaikanal DFO Venkatesh admitted that several cases were recorded with the department in the past and maintained that the officers had then carried out necessary probe. Even last week, two cases of tree felling were booked and action was being taken. Vigilance and patrolling had been stepped up to prevent violations, the DFO said.