DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government has suspended two senior Indian Forest Service officials in connection with illegal tree-felling and construction in the Corbett Tiger Reserve. The director of the tiger reserve has also been shunted out.
“Our government is committed to a zero-tolerance policy towards violation of the law. Further action will be taken as per the law,” said Subodh Uniyal, state forest minister. JS Suhag, former chief wildlife warden who held the post of chief executive officer, and Kishan Chand, former divisional forest officer of Kalagarh Tiger Reserve, were suspended on Wednesday. CTR director Rahul (he goes by his first name) was removed from his post and attached to the office of principal chief conservator of forests, Dehradun.
In January this year, the Uttarakhand High Court had directed the state chief secretary and principal secretary (forests) to take action against the officials for illegal constructions and felling of trees in Pakhro and Morghati areas of the Corbett reserve. On April 17, the state government had served show cause notice to Rahul and asked him to reply within 15 days.
The High Court had taken suo moto cognisance of the illegal constructions and violation by the state forest department officials and issued notice to the state government in October 2021. Earlier, a committee formed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had found that forest department officials forged records in order to allow illegal construction and buildings. The NTCA had set up the committee following a petition by Supreme Court advocate and wildlife activist Gaurav Kumar Bansal, alleging illegal constructions.