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Citizens For Green Doon Delegation meets PCCF

Dr Nitin Pandey


CFGD Delgate meets PCCF
CFGD Delegated meets PCCF

Members of Citizens For Green Doon, on Friday, called upon Dr. RBS Rawat, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to apprise him of their concern at the rapid deterioration of Dehradun’s green cover and of their proposals of increasing transparency in the functioning of the Forest Department.

Outlining the proposals Dr Nitin Pandey said that the need of the hour is to increase the involvement of common citizens in management of their own trees and to enhance social audit of at least the tree felling activities of the Forest Department since this affects the local population directly. He suggested setting up a Tribunal for giving permissions and a display notice board in front of DFO’s office with copies of tree felling applications from official agencies and general public. (See box)

Dr Rawat welcomed the interest of Citizens For Green Doon in saving the environment of the Valley and said each and every citizen and government department should take interest in greening the Valley. He assured the delegation that he would implement most of the suggestions soon. When questioned about the recent controversy about felling of 386 trees in Rashtrapati Ashiana he admitted that the then DFO should not have permitted the felling himself but considering the magnitude of the felling, kept higher ups in the loop. The delegation also apprised Dr Rawat of the apparent illegal felling of 10 trees in Cannought Place in 2006 and demanded an enquiry in the whole issue.
The Six Suggestions
  • Display tree felling applications in notice board for one month.
  • Tribunal for approving tree fellings.
  • Permission for tree felling should expire after 3 months for all Government Departments.
  • Prohibit tree fellings during Government Holidays, Sundays & during night time.
  • Contractors must carry authorization letters while felling trees.
  • Compensatory Afforestation to be ensured at least six months before date of tree felling.

The delegation also requested the PCCF for support in their endeavour to increase the minimum fine for illegal tree felling from the present level of Rs 5000/- to Rs 25,000/-. Dr Pandey said that CFGD would soon seek appointment with the Forest Minister to initiate an amendment in the Forest Act for the same.

Mrs Florence Pandhi asked the PCCF for the department’s support in making a plan for Greening Dehradun. Dr Rawat informed the delegation that a committee would soon be set up for giving a shape to the concept.

Himanshu Arora brought up the topic of reported existence of illegal timber saws in villages surrounding Lacchiwala forests and said that there was no reason for their presence in villages. He requested the PCCF to direct appropriate officials to seize such sawing machines.

Ruchi Singh Rao informed the PCCF that the Thano Raipur road was one of the most scenic roads in Dehradun and could be used to promote cycling and tourism. Cutting off 3500 trees to widen it will destroy the very beauty which draws tourists from far and wide to this State. Dr Rawat advised them to discuss the issue with the Chief Secretary. She also suggested that compensatory afforestation should be ensured at least six months prior to tree felling so that by the time trees are cut, it becomes sure that the saplings have survived.

Members of the CFGD delegation then thanked Dr RBS Rawat for giving them a patient hearing and expressed hope that there would be many more future interactions with him.

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Hey, that's a clever way of thniking about it.

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