CHENNAI: Cutting of a large number of trees by ‘silent wood cutters’ in the forest area of Kalvarayan hills is going on unabated, the amicus curie appointed by the Madras High Court told the First Bench of the High Court on Thursday.
Passing orders on a PIL seeking rehabilitation and provision of all basic amenities to the villagers of Kalvarayan hill areas in Villupuram and Salem districts, on an earlier occasion, the Bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana had appointed advocates T Mohan and V Suresh as amicus curie, to assist the court in the matter. As per the court’s direction, the two had visited the Chinna and Periya Kalvarayan hill areas in the two districts and submitted a report.
According to the report, these forest areas are well-known for ‘silent wood cutters’ who cut the giant trees without making much noise and transport them illegally. The wood cutters killed in the recent encounter in Seshachalam forests of Andhra Pradesh were also from this area.
When the matter came up for hearing on November 5, Director of Tribal Welfare Directorate Dr BC Archana Kalyani, who was present in the court, told the judges that 24 GOs were required to be issued by various departments for taking steps to uplift the villagers. The benchhoped that the authorities would be aware of the importance of the issue and ensure that the GOs issued in a month.
When the director submitted that it was not possible to provide them jobs in the government, the Bench said what was sought to be done was only skill development to facilitate their employment in the relevant age group. The Bench said, “We are of the view that when any information is sought by the departments concerned in the present case, the Collectors must respond within four weeks. This order should also be communicated to them in a week.’’