Govt. gave free run to timber mafia: Muraleedharan

He visits sites in Wayanad where trees had been axed

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan has alleged that the Left Democratic Front government is the first State government in the country that has issued an order for the sake of timber mafia.

After visiting Muttil South village in Wayanad on Friday, where massive rosewood tree felling had been reported, Mr. Muraleedharan said usually the government would protect employees who had taken stringent action against the mafia. Here, the State government was taking measures on the contrary.

The government had given a free run to the timber mafia through an order to fell precious rosewood trees in a region prone to natural calamities such as flood and landslips, Mr. Muraleedharan said.

It was not an arbitrary decision of the bureaucrats, Mr. Muraleedharan said adding that such daylight looting could be made only with the support of Ministers related to the departments concerned.

The State had witnessed a massive felling of trees during the reign of the Left Democratic Front, which had launched a stir a few years back demanding expeditious steps to douse forest-fires in the Amazon region, he said.

Though many months had passed since the felling of trees came to light, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who represents the constituency in the Lok Sabha, had failed to utter a single word against the plunder, he said.

Moreover, the government was yet to make any official document regarding the tree population in the State. All the findings during his visit would be brought to the attention of Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Mr. Muraleedharan said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party would launch an agitation if the authorities failed to bring the culprits before the law, he added.

The Minister also visited the Malamkara and Pannikkuzhi tribal hamlets and interacted with the residents on rosewood tree felling on their land by misinterpreting a government order.

Former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan and tribal leader C.K. Janu accompanied him.

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