Himachal forest employees held for illegally felling trees

Shimla, Feb 9 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh police on Tuesday arrested 12 state forest department employees in connection with large-scale illegal felling of trees in Chamba district in 2014.

“The forest officials, whose involvement was found in the illegal felling of trees, have been arrested,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Bir Bahadur Singh told IANS over phone.

The functionaries were summoned to a police station in Chamba town, some 450 km from here, for questioning and later arrested, official sources said.

The issue of illegal felling of trees came to light when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Ravinder Ravi raised the issue in the assembly in December 2014.

He alleged illegal felling had increased alarmingly in Chamba district, the home constituency of forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri.

The opposition BJP leader had demanded sacking of the forest minister and an inquiry into the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

He said the government had given permission to fell 1,016 dried trees in Chamba district, but more than 2,000 trees were cut on that pretext.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had informed the assembly that an inquiry would be conducted into the matter and those found guilty would not be spared.

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