KALPETTA: Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Friday visited various places in Wayanad where reserved trees had been allegedly cut down illegally. In Kalpetta, the minister visited places including the tribal colonies at Malankara and Avilattu near Vazhavatta. Muraleedharan had written to Union Forest and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar seeking a comprehensive probe into the massive tree felling recently.
Speaking to the media, he said the massive tree felling in Wayanad, which is at risk of landslides, happened with the permission of the government officials. When a major part of the Amazon rainforest was destroyed by wildfires, constituents of the LDF, which is ruling the state now, had led protests saying that the government there had not done enough to put out the fire.
“Kerala is said to be ruled by ‘people who care about climate change and nature conservation’. It is during the same state government’s rule that so many trees were cut down. The responsibility for this is not limited to government employees. Persons in the government are also involved. This would not happen without the knowledge of the ministers concerned,” he said.
Wayanad constituency is of national importance, but the Wayanad MP is yet to respond on the issue. “Is he (Rahul Gandhi) not aware of the issue till now or has he left the constituency?” he asked. He further alleged that the Left government in the state issues orders only for the mafia, takes action against the officers who oppose the mafia and threatens those officers.
“A strong and mass agitation will arise against this timber smuggling. It is learnt that not only in Wayanad, reserved trees have been felled in Thrissur and Idukki. The government hasn’t even estimated the number of trees added to the reserved category after the 1964 law was enacted in the state.” Muraleedharan said he would meet Union minister Javadekar again in this regard.