Advisor to PCCF: Suspend DFO Bhadarwah, six others for failing to protect forests in Doda

BHADERWAH: Taking note of the large scale encroachment of forest land in the region, the advisor to the Jammu and Kashmir Governor Wednesday directed the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) to order immediate suspension of seven officials, including the divisional forest officer.

As per the order, the advisor to Governor Satya Pal Malik has directed PCCF to place Bhadarwah DFO Khalid Amin Mehta, Range Officer (RO) Chiralla Sunil Sharma, forester of Jaie Block Rattan Kumar and all the forest guards posted in compartments 1 to 12 of Chiralla range under suspension and attach them with the office of PCCF till further order.

The PCCF has been asked to hold an enquiry and submit the report to administrative department in a maximum of 10 days time.

There were media reports on unabated green felling in Tanta area of Chiralla range and encroachment of forest land.

Environment activists and villagers living near forest have flayed the authorities for inaction, accusing them of conniving with the timber smugglers and encroachers.

They expressed concern in wake of several pictures and videos doing rounds on social media that show large scale felling of Cedar trees using diesel cutters by smugglers.

Activists say illegal deforestation by timber mafia is fast depleting the forest cover on the hills, once home to dense coniferous forests.

PCCF Suresh Chug could not be contacted to react on the issue.

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PTI