By P.T. Bopanna
The notorious timber mafia in Karnataka’s Kodagu (Coorg) district has not taken kindly to deputy commissioner Annies K. Joy’s (in picture) order banning felling of trees and transportation of timber and sand till the end of September. The DC had banned transportation of timber in view of the monsoon and in the wake of landslides which damaged roads in the hill station last year.
It may be recalled the timber lobby had arm-twisted the previous deputy commissioner P.I. Sreevidya last year and she was forced to relax her order similarly banning the movement of timber (silver oaks) lorries in spite of the fact that the highways were damaged.
Most of the highways linking the hill station are still weak as only temporary repairs were carried out to make the roads motorable. In the circumstances, it is not advisable to allow the plying of timber lorries till the end of monsoon. The heavy load tends to weaken embankments during monsoon and would result in landslips. Justifying her action, the DC said the district roads are narrow and the shoulder abutting the roads lacked the strength to support heavy vehicles.
Meanwhile, the District Land Owners’ and Timber Vendors’ Association vice president K. A. Adam said that a memorandum will be submitted to the deputy commissioner to lift the ban on felling and transportation of timber. If no favourable response is obtained, “stern protests would be inevitable”.
The restrictions on the felling of trees were taken at the recent meeting of the Tree Authority Committee held at Aranya Bhavan in Madikeri. Besides the DC, the meeting was attended by Kodagu Circle Chief Conservator of Forests Santhosh Kumar and Madikeri DCF in-charge Mariya Cristaraja.