ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE: Green thieves raid govt campus – choppers take advantage of holiday

ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE: Green thieves raid govt campus – choppers take advantage of holiday – desperation and corruption ?!!

The stump of the kadamba on the district collectorate campus - guards in collusion ?!! (Mithun Roy)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Balurghat, Sept. 2: A kadamba tree was felled and carried away from the campus of the district collectorate here on Janmasthami, a holiday in government offices.

Large branches of a banyan tree on the same premises were also chopped off yesterday.

Officials of the public works department have filed a complaint at the Balurghat police station after the theft came to light this morning.

Deben Sarkar, a driver with the Integrated Child Development Scheme, and Rabi Sarkar, a mechanic with the district administration’s car pool, were picked up by police for interrogation.

However, they were released later during the day.

A local social worker, Hillol Majumdar, said: “I don’t know why they cut off the trees. But it seems that it was a pre-planned act. The manner in which the trunk of the kadamba tree has been chopped off, it looks like a large saw was used to cut through the base.”

Executive engineer of the public works department Fayez Ahmed said he has filed a complaint with the Balurghat police station.

The department is in charge of the upkeep and maintenance of all state government property including the trees that grow on government owned land.

Secretary of Dishari Sankalpa, an environmental group here, Tuhin Subhra Mondol, said those involved should be punished. “If one tree is felled, four saplings have to be planted according to government norms. Trees being felled inside a government campus is totally unacceptable.

A banyan tree that had its branches cut off - and the locals know all about it but the police unawares ?!! (Mithun Roy)

There is rampant felling of trees throughout the district and this is going on unchecked. These people should be given exemplary punishment,” he said. Mondol added that during the widening of the Malda-Balurghat-Hili road more than 10,000 mature trees had been felled causing imbalance to the environment.

South Dinajpur district magistrate Asok Banerjee said he has asked the Balurghat police to investigate.

District superintendent of police Swapan Banerjee Purnapatra said: “We are probing the incident. We have not arrested anyone yet as no one has been named in the FIR.”

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