Union Minister Prakash Javadekar seeks report on Muttil tree felling

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Kochi: Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday sought a report from officials concerned on the issue of alleged mass felling and smuggling of centuries-old rosewood trees from the forest land in Kerala's Wayanad district.

This was disclosed by Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, who met Javadekar in New Delhi on Thursday seeking his intervention into the matter.

Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Muraleedharan, who is from Kerala, said the Union Environment Minister has sought a report from his officials on the basis of his complaint seeking action against the culprits, who had axed timber worth crores from the Kerala forests.

He alleged that the trees were looted from the forests under the shield of an order issued by the state government last year.

Demanding a comprehensive probe into the incident, Muraleedharan said the order was issued with the complete knowledge of the political leadership of state's ruling LDF.

"The role of the two ministers in the previous LDF government should also be investigated", he added.

The opposition Congress-led UDF had raised the issue in the Kerala Assembly on Tuesday, accusing the Left government of shielding the culprits.

The state government on Wednesday informed the Kerala High Court that a mafia was involved in felling of trees and what was revealed in the investigation was just the tip of the iceberg.The state government said this when a plea seeking to quash FIRs registered by the Forest Department in connection with various cases of illegal harvest of trees in Muttil village came up in the court.

The High Court has refused to stay the investigation into the case.


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