The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has stayed the decision of the Haryana Forest Department allowing open auction of trees to private contractors in Kalanwali Range (Sirsa) and Hodel Range (Palwal).
Acting on a petition filed by the Hariyali Welfare Society, a Gurgaon-based NGO, the NGT stayed the open auction of dead, dry and fallen trees in these ranges. The NGT found that the state government’s decision to issue tender notice dated June 14, 2013, was in apparent conflict with the orders of the Supreme Court and the state’s forest policy.
In its order dated October 24, the NGT said according to the orders of the Supreme Court and the state government’s policy, the standing forest extraction should not be executed through a private agency.
Earlier, the Forest Department conducted auction of trees to allow private contractors in forest areas apparently in violation of the orders of the Supreme Court and state forest policy.
The Supreme Court, in its order dated January 15, 1998, directed that timber extraction in forest areas would be done by the state government agencies only. The order was passed to restrict the private contractors to enter forest areas to control illicit felling of trees. In compliance with the apex court orders, the states and UTs were executing the tree harvesting through state forest development corporations.
In Haryana also, some district forest ranges have been allotted to the Haryana Forest Development Corporation.
Meanwhile, Vivek Kamboj of Haryali, said they would also file a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court.
NGT stays the Forest Department order on open auction of trees to private parties.
Haryana Government had apparently acted against the Supreme Court order and state forest policy.
The Supreme Court order apparently restricts the private contractors from entering forest areas.