Illegal cutting of trees near Nainital: NGT issues notice to chief secretary, others

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has sought a response within a month from several Uttarakhand government officers, including the Chief Secretary, in a matter pertaining to unauthorised felling of trees in the forest area near Nainital city.

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A bench of judicial member Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert member Afroz Ahmad noted the tribunal, in its order dated September 1, had constituted a joint committee and directed it to submit a factual action-taken report within two months.

“In view of the averments in the application and observations in the report of the joint committee, we consider it appropriate to have the response of the state of Uttarakhand through the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Department of Environment, Principal Secretary, Urban Development, Divisional Commissioner, Kumaon, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Nainital, and Uttarakhand pollution control board (PCB) who stand impleaded as respondents,” the green panel said.

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Noting the state PCB was already appearing before the tribunal, it issued notice to the other six respondents.

“Reply or response by the respondents be filed by email within one month,” the tribunal said.

Because of the “significant nature and impact of the environmental violations involved”, the green panel also appointed Senior Advocate Akash Vashishtha as amicus curie to assist it .

The NGT was hearing a petition according to which the forest area was getting damaged due to the illegal felling of trees and, as the Naini Lake was recharged by forest areas around it, there was a danger of loss of its catchment area.

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