Telangana: 20 forest officials facing action over saw mills

Hyderabad: The Telangana Forest Department has started the process of disciplinary action against 20 forest officials, including two divisional forest officers and six forest range officers, after they ignored the presence of unauthorised saw mills within their jurisdiction.
The stern action has been initiated following a report by TS Vigilance and Enforcement department.
Unauthorised saw mills use wood from the nearest forest reserves, causing major habitat loss. Also, the Supreme Court has issued a blanket ban on them.
Sources from the TS forest department said two DFOs, Sridhar Rao of Siddipet and the then member of flying squad, Ravindra Rathod, and six FROs working at Narsapur, Zaheerabad, Sangareddy, Nizamabad  and Siddipet were involved in the continued negligence.
“These officials didn’t take any action against the erring saw mills, which were mostly running without licences. Vigilance sleuths conducted a detailed probe and submitted a report to the government and the Vigilance Commission, which in turn ordered disciplinary action,” an official from the forest department said.
TS Principal Chief Conservator of Forests P. K. Jha said: “In 2002, the Supreme Court had issued orders stopping all unauthorised saw mills. Later, in 2012, a petition was filed at the HC stating that the SC’s orders have not been obeyed. Reacting to this, the department has conducted a massive drive against these mills. But, in some cases, we found certain mills were running with expired licences.”

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