Kerala Revenue Minister K Rajan (Photo/ANI)
Kerala Revenue Minister K Rajan (Photo/ANI)

Order was misused, says Kerala Revenue Minister on illegal tree felling

ANI | Updated: Jun 18, 2021 02:38 IST

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], June 17 (ANI): Defending the controversial order issued by the Revenue Department of Kerala during the Left Democratic Front's (LDF) tenure that resulted in large scale felling of protected trees in districts across the state, state Revenue Minister K Rajan on Thursday said that the directive passed to help farmers was misused.
"The order was passed to help farmers but by misusing the order, trees were felled in Wayanad. A probe is taking place and stringent action will be taken against those who are found guilty. No one will go scot free," Rajan said in an official statement.
According to him, the order was passed after an all party meeting pressed for it.
"The order was issued by Revenue Department after such a demand was raised in the all party meeting to help farmers. There is a probe underway and on the ambit of the probe it will be also found out whether any similar illegal tree felling was carried out in any other places in the disguise of the order," he said.
There are 46 villages in Wayanad but only in Muttil village the tree felling was carried out misusing a government order, Rajan added.
"The district collector had taken action against the Village Officer and he was suspended. There is nothing wrong in the government order but it was misrepresented to fell the trees," the state minister said.
The response of the Revenue Minister comes at a time when both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have demanded a judicial probe. On Wednesday, a demonstration was held by BJP members in the state.
On June 8, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders staged a walkout from the Kerala Assembly, alleging that the Left government was shielding culprits in the illegal mass felling and smuggling of trees by forest mafia in the revenue land allotted to farmers for agriculture in a tribal village in Wayanad.
The controversial order was withdrawn by the government in February but the opposition allege within the time span rampant tree felling has taken place. (ANI)