ITANAGAR, Aug 21: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given the state government six weeks’ time to respond if action has been initiated to curb illegal logging in the state.
While hearing a petition filed by activist Jorjo Tana Tara on 18 August, the NGT said that, since a “committee appears to have been constituted for drawing up the action plan, it would be appropriate if the state informs us as to whether further action has been taken by the committee so far.”
Anil Srivastava, the counsel for the state, sought time to submit the details of the action taken, which was allowed by the NGT.
The petition had been filed in September last year by Tara, following which the state constituted a committee to curb logging at the direction of the NGT.
The NGT stated that the direction to draw up a strategic action plan has in fact not been complied with, though a high-level committee had met under the chairmanship of the chief secretary on 21 September, 2019, during which the decision to constitute a committee had been taken for the purpose of framing a comprehensive action plan, including intelligence network, to combat such illegalities in the state.
“Since the committee appears to have been constituted for drawing up the action plan, it would be appropriate if the state informs us as to whether further action has been taken by the committee so far,” the NGT said.
Kanika Sood, appearing on behalf of Tara, said that the compliance report submitted by the state of Arunachal “does not address completely the question of drawing up strategic action plan by the state.”
She said that a strategic action plan to deal with the menace of illicit felling of trees in the forests of the state would substantially help in dealing with repeated violations. “Such action would also ensure protection of the forests by means of planned action towards that direction,” Sood said.
The NGT had directed the Arunachal government to take appropriate action to stop illegal logging in the state.
The direction had come after the tribunal had heard a case of illegal logging being carried out in Papum forest, under the Khellong forest division, filed by Tara.
Stating that there are serious environmental questions in the case, the NGT had directed the state to take appropriate action to identify the “hotspots” where illegal felling of trees and deforestation are taking place.
The NGT had directed the government to constitute a high-level committee headed by the chief secretary to put into action the direction of the tribunal.