Mullaperiyar: Centre seeks explanation from Kerala over suspension of Chief Wildlife Warden


Mathrubhumi News

Bennichan Thomas, the Chief Wildlife Warden who gave permission to cut 15 trees surrounding the baby dam, had been suspended by the state government for the investigation.

Mullaperiyar Dam | Photo: V Nambiar, Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: The Centre has sought an explanation from Kerala government over the suspension of the government officer for passing the order permitting Tamil Nadu to fell the trees in the vicinity of Mullaperiyar baby dam. Bennichan Thomas, the Chief Wildlife Warden who gave permission to cut 15 trees surrounding the baby dam, had been suspended pending investigation.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said that it heard about the news of the officer’s suspension through news and other media. The ministry has made this clear in the letter sent to the Chief Secretary. The letter states that the events that led to the suspension and the related documents must be presented before the ministry.

The government officials are saying that there is no need to inform the centre about the suspension. They are also highlighting the service rule that elaborates that only when there is a need to extend the suspension, the centre must be informed about it within three months. The Chief Secretary made it clear that a reply fitting the protocol will be given to the centre.

Bennichan Thomas was suspended for passing the order without the knowledge of the Chief Minister and the Minister for Forest. The action was taken against the officer after finding lapses at the office level following an evaluation by the government.

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