Those who fought to protect the Amazon are now rallying to clean Western Ghats: V. Muraleedharan

The Muttil illegal timber felling and smuggling is part of a bigger conspiracy involving senior politicians, Ministers and timber mafias and the LDF government is the first-ever to issue an order favouring the crime, alleged the Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan.

The Minister, who along with senior BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan and Janatipathya Rashtriya Party chairperson and Adivasi leader C K Janu among others, was speaking to mediapersons after visiting Muttil Adivasi colony near here as part of his visit to areas from where it is alleged that centuries old and precious woods were illegally felled and smuggled early this year under an order that permitted felling of trees by farmers.

Mr Muraleedharan alleged that the timber mafias utilised the order in connivance with officials and politicians and felled hundreds of treasured trees from various part of the state including South Muttil in Wayanad district.

The ‘scam’ was part of a conspiracy by politicians including Ministers and the timber mafia, the Minister alleged.

“Those who had condemned the Brazilian authorities for alleged neglect of a forest fire that witnessed in the Amazon rain forests a few months ago were conspiring here to illegally fell and smuggle huge quantities of woods even from the protected forests causing irreparable damages to the environment,” he alleged.

“No one can believe how can a Government issue an order consenting felling of trees. It is most surprising and illegal. The notification was against all norms on environmental protection. Wayanad and Nilambur, forming part of the western ghats, had witnessed massive natural calamities including landslides during the past three years,” the minister alleged.

“How could anyone justify an act that would pave further degradation in the environment. No one can take it without a pinch of salt that the illegal felling and smuggling of woods from South Muttil and other places happened on a decision of an official or two, but it came from the top political leadership,” he further alleged.

Meanwhile, the Forest department has removed Divisional Forest Officer Dhanesh Kumar from the charge of the investigation. He has been replaced by the Punalur DFO Byju Krishnan.