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Probe finds illegal felling of 169 trees in Jhajjar village

Sarpanch directed to deposit Rs 2.70 lakh, sow 250 plants

Probe finds illegal felling of 169 trees in Jhajjar village

File photo



Tribune News Service

Ravinder Saini

Jhajjar, April 1

An inquiry conducted by a committee of district officials has found illegal felling of 169 trees in Siwana village in the Beri subdivision here.

Money not deposited yet

Upma Arora, DDPO, Jhajjar, said the sarpanch had not yet deposited the price of the trees in the gram panchayat fund.

FIR lodged against two villagers

Suresh Kumar, gram sarpanch, Siwana, claimed that he had nothing to do with the case as two other villagers were found indulging in cutting of the trees. An FIR had also been registered against them.

Considering the cost assessment of the trees by the local office of the Forest Department, the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO), Beri, has directed the sarpanch of Siwana village to deposit Rs 2,70,685 in the gram panchayat fund and sow 250 plants in the village area. This was disclosed in a report submitted by the then District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in this regard, recently. The inquiry was conducted on the directives of the NGT when a village resident, Naresh Kumar, raised the issue before it by filing a petition in this regard.

In his complaint, Naresh had accused the village sarpanch of cutting 400 green trees illegally in the village last year. Acting on the complaint, the NGT had asked the district authorities to look into the matter.

In January, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) had formed a committee comprising the Tehsildar, Beri, Forest Range Officer, Jhajjar, and Assistant Environmental Engineer, Haryana State Pollution Control Board, to inspect the site and verify the complaint. The committee inspected the site in February and submitted its report.

“After the inspection of the site, the committee found that 169 trees were cut in the village. On March 15, the District Forest officer assessed the price of trees to be Rs 2,70,685. Thereafter, the village sarpanch was directed to deposit the cost of the trees in the gram panchayat fund and sow 250 plants in the village to enhance the green cover,” said the report.

In the report, the DDPO mentioned that the SDM, Beri, had also directed the then BDPO, Beri, in September 2023 to submit a detailed report with the regard to cutting of trees in the village. Thereafter, the then BDPO also got an FIR registered against two residents, Rishi Raj and Mohit, in this regard.

Upma Arora, DDPO, Jhajjar, said the sarpanch had not yet deposited the cost of the trees in the gram panchayat fund.

Suresh Kumar, gram sarpanch, Siwana, claimed that he had nothing to do with the case as two other villagers were found indulging in cutting of the trees. An FIR had also also been registered against them.

Confirming the issuance of the notice by the Panchayat Department against him for the deposition of Rs 2.70 lakh, the Sarpanch said he had asked both accused to deposit the money in the panchayat funds. “We have started sowing the plants in the village to enhance the green cover,” he added.

Social Education Panchayat Officer Satyavan said since the protection of trees was the responsibility of the sarpanch, hence he was issued the notice for depositing the cost of the trees.

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