KNT Impact: Forest Officer attached after Agency constructing Zojila Tunnel chops off over 300 trees

Sonmarg: A day after the report that Agency constructing Zojila Tunnel has chopped down over 300 ‘trees’ without seeking permission from Forest Department, the Department attached Forest Officer Sonmarg to DFO’s office Ganderbal for not informing the higher-ups in time.

Sources told News Agency Kashmir News Trust that Forest Officer Sonmarg, Abdul Gani was attached to the office of Divisional Forest Officer Ganderbal while additional charge was given to Forest Officer Gund Habibullah.

As reported earlier by KNT that Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd which is responsible for the construction of 14.5 kilometer Zojila Tuneel has chopped off 338 trees without seeking permission from the Forest Department.

Sources said that attachment order was issued after Department felt that the said officer resorted to dilly dally tactics in sending the report to higher-ups.

Sources added that DFO Ganderbal Mir Owais along with Deputy Director Forest Protection Forces visited Nilgrath and Baltal areas to assess the situation. The DFO has already constituted a committee comprising of Range Officer Sindh Forest Range and Assistant Director Forest Protection Force to ascertain the facts. They have been asked to submit the report within 3 days.

Yesterday, DFO Ganderbal, Mir Owais had said that he has constituted a committee to ascertain facts. “If some violation has taken place, we will charge bill from the Agency. I don’t think they have cut trees. What I have learnt is that the Agency has cut some saplings,” Mir Owais had told KNT.

The attached Forest Officer Sonmarg Abdul Gani in its report has already sought action against the Agency under law. He admitted that Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited has cut down 338 trees.

Pertinently, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd got the contract to construct the Zojila Tunnel after it emerged as the lowest bidder for the project.

Zojila tunnel aims to provide all-year connectivity between Kashmir and Ladakh region. The estimated cost of the project is Rs4,509 crore. (KNT)

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