Chamba: The Himachal Pradesh Forest Department has taken strict action against six of its employees, including a Forest Range Officer, Forest Block Officer, and Forest Guard, for their negligence in illegal felling cases in Churah Forest Division of Chamba district.

In December last year, cases of illegal felling were reported in Bhajotra Forest and Shakti Forest, which come under the purview of Forest Division Churah. Local people had informed the Forest Department about the connivance of departmental employees in illegal felling. An investigation was carried out on the spot, and it was found that deodar trees were illegally cut in both forests.

The department had suspended the concerned Forest Range Officer, Forest Section Officer, and Forest Guards earlier, but after a thorough investigation, it has now charge sheeted them and instituted an inquiry against them. This move has caused panic among the employees involved, and one of them, who has retired, will also have to face a departmental inquiry.

The Chief Forest Conservator Chamba, Upasana Patial, has emphasized the need for accountability and impartial investigation to ensure that those involved in illegal felling are appropriately punished. The department has taken these actions to address complaints of negligence among its employees and to ensure that impartial investigations are conducted according to departmental rules.

Illegal felling of trees is a major concern in Himachal Pradesh, and the state government has been taking various measures to prevent such activities. The department had stopped all work being done under a lot in all the forests of the district for a few days when these cases came to light. The Forest Divisional Officer himself conducted a surprise inspection to ensure the correct felling of trees before resuming work.

The charge sheeting of the employees involved in the illegal felling cases is a significant move towards preserving the state’s forests and wildlife. The forest cover in Himachal Pradesh is a major source of revenue for the state and is also a crucial component in preserving the ecological balance of the region. The department’s action against its employees serves as a warning to those who seek to profit from illegal activities in the state’s forests.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.