Abid Hussain

Mass axing of walnut trees in Budgam, govt cut down 1000 trees

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Chief Horticulture officer clueless

Budgam, July 04: Around one thousand walnut trees were chopped down in five Tehsils of Budgam district in the past three months.

Sources in the revenue department revealed that hundreds of walnut trees were axed by government on the pretext of laying transmission lines through Budgam.

Tehsildar Chadoora, Khansahib and Beerwah confirmed to “Kashmir Images” that hundreds of walnut trees were felled in these areas.

Aghast Budgam residents criticized the move. “On one side government has put a complete ban on felling of walnut trees, but on the other side government itself has resorted to mass chopping,” said a local in Khansahib where more than three hundreds walnut trees faced axe.

Others said that chopped trees were having high yield and trees were cut even before harvesting.  “If government wanted to make way for transmission lines, why have they chopped trees before the harvesting season?” locals questioned.

Superintending Engineer, System and Operation Wing of Power Development Department, Fayaz Ahmad Beigh did not respond to repeated calls.

Meanwhile, there are speculations that more than one thousand walnut trees were cut as concerned authorities have violated the conditions of permission issued by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, which states, “No any other tree shall be felled down under the garb of this permit and the permission is restricted to these 1004 trees only.”

Also, it adds, “The felling of walnut trees shall be undertaken in presence of Chief Horticulture Officer Budgam (CHO).”

However, concerned CHO, P K Amardar said that trees were not chopped in his presence. He added, “It (felling of trees) is news for me as I haven’t received any information in this regard.”

The permission copy for felling of walnut trees also mentions that its copy was forwarded to CHO Budgam for information and necessary action. However, Amardar denied of receiving any such communication.

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