The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders on Tuesday staged a walkout from the Kerala Assembly, alleging that the Left government of shielding culprits in the illegal recent mass felling and smuggling of trees by forest mafia in the revenue land allotted to farmers for agriculture in a tribal village in Wayanad.
PT Thomas who moved the notice for the adjournment motion alleged that rosewood trees worth crores were cut down and smuggled out from Muttil area in Wayanad to Ernakulam.
He said the trees were cut based under the shield of a government order, issued by the Revenue Principal secretary on October 24, 2020, which allowed farmers to fell the trees that they had planted in land assigned to them under the Kerala Land Assignment Rules, 1964.
Opposition leader VD Satheesan alleged that the government order issued on October 24 was withdrawn on February 2 after it became a controversy.
"But by that time trees were rampantly cut down not only in Wayanad but other districts as well. The Forest Minister and Revenue Minister are completely confused regarding the issue and are trying to evade questions. A comprehensive probe should be carried out to bring out the truth," he said.
Forest Minister AK Saseendran while giving details in the Assembly on the matter said that 101 trees were cut down and the stolen wood is worth Rs 10 crore. He said that 41 cases have been registered in the matter so far.
"The government have taken steps to book the culprits and that the forest officials have recovered woods from a sawmill at Perumbavoor in Ernakulam," the Minister said.
After Speaker denied permission to move the adjournment motion, the Opposition walked out in protest.
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