Former SDO ‘in the dock’ over tree felling

Statesman News Service
KALIMPONG, Aug. 28. — A former sub-divisional officer here has been accused of chopping off trees on the compound of SDO bungalow in Justice Biswas Road here. As per the complainants, the former SDO, Dr AK Yadav, had requested the divisional manager of the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC), for the permission to cutting of down two trees. The tree are panisaj and pine.
Dr Yadav said that both the trees were about to fall down and are posing a threat to the lives of the habitants in and around the locality.
The request was forwarded to the Tree Felling Committee (TFC) comprising the additional DM(WBFDC), sub-divisional land and land reforms officer (SDLLRO), and a DGHC representative. After a joint inspection and the report submitted by the deputy range manager (forest) and BLLRO, the green signal for the felling of trees was given by the TFC on 5 November last year.
Interestingly, Dr Yadav decided to chop it off only on 5 July this year (eight months after the permission was granted) and just a week before his transfer. He allegedly cut down five more rare species of Mallagiri’s (local name). Besides this, it has been alleged that Dr Yadav had not even bothered to pay the royalty nor displayed them for auction. Peeved at SDO’s step, the CPI-M leader Mr Tara Sundas has decided to approach the Darjeeling DM, terming the act as a ‘total dominance of bureaucrat.’
Sources close to the SDO allege that the latter used the timber for personal furniture’s. Similarly the GNLF(C) chief convener, Col (retd) DK Prahdan asked how he could get the transit permission for taking such goods. Both the leaders asked as to how such a reputed government official can loot a public property. “Incidentally the trees are of rare species”, Mr Sundas said.
The Darjeeling DM, Mr Ariz Aftab, denied having known about the incident. “I will inquire about it. As of now no official complaint has been lodged,” Mr Aftab said. Dr Yadav has now been transferred .

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