Power company accused of illegal axing of trees in Himachal

July 1st, 2008 - 1:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, July 1 (IANS) The forest department of Himachal Pradesh has booked Trident Power System Ltd for axing trees in violation of the Forest Conservation Act, official sources said Tuesday. The company, executing the 5-MW Uhal hydroelectric project in Mandi district, has been asked to stop the construction work, a forest officer said.

The forest department had accused the company of dumping debris in a tributary of river Beas and cutting trees in the forest area.

The company had axed 18 trees in violation of a ban imposed by the state government, Kunal Satyarthi, Mandi’s divisional forest officer, told IANS.

He said the project authorities claimed they had the permission to cut the trees.

Even “if they had the permission, then the state forest corporation can cut the trees on their behalf”, Satyarthi said.

The project authorities had not even demarcated their area, according to the officer. These violations came to the notice of the forest department during the demarcation process in May.

However, the company has denied violating the ban.

“The forest department directed us not to cut trees, so we have moved the high court in this regard. No trees have been damaged by us,” said Rajinder Sharma, an official of the power project.

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