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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday took suo moto notice of alleged illegal felling of over 450 trees at Tara Devi temple complex, 10-Km from here and issued notice to the Himachal Pradesh government, officials said.

A bench of NGT issued notice to the state chief secretary and the principal secretary (forests), directing them to file the reply before the next hearing slated for January 8, 2015.

The state government registered the FIR yesterday against illegal felling of 477 trees standing on private land and suspended the forest Guard Nisha and Deputy Ranger Kundan Lal.

Principal Secretary (Forests) Tarun Shridhar confirmed that preliminary enquiry by forest officials who visited the spot revealed that the team found 477 trees, including deodar and oak trees had been axed.

The government today shifted the concerned Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Vinod Kumar and a case has been registered against Parminder Kaur for illegal felling of trees.

FelFelling of trees without the permission of the government ling of trees without the permission of the government was cognisable offence and even for felling trees on private land, permission is required, forest officials said.

A visit to the spot revealed that the trees were not only felled illegally but effort was made to burn the stumps and chopped branches of the trees.

However, there was no clue about the timber extracted from the trees.

The opposition BJP and Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) have demanded a high level probe by a sitting high court judge and stringent action against the officials and politicians alleged to have connived with the accused.

The BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt said that it was strange that more than 450 trees were felled in the outskirts of the town and the forest department was clueless and rose from slumber after the matter was highlighted in the press.

Meanwhile, another case of illegal felling of trees?in Shimla town has come to the notice and the CPI(M) has demanded registration of a case and action against the accused.


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