Ghaziabad, Feb 18: The Ghaziabad forest department has registered two criminal cases against the city’s municipal corporation officials for damaging trees and concretising the ground surface, thereby harming the city’s biodiversity.
Akash Vashishtha, an environmentalist, lodged a complaint with the department in which he said over 208 trees of city forest were damaged due to sewage overflowing from a drain that discharges waste into the Hindon river.
Earlier in 2011, local councillors Rajendra Tyagi and Alok Kumar filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court in which they prayed for punitive action against erring officials and restoration of the lives of the trees.
Taking a serious note, the Allahabad High Court passed strictures against the apathetic municipal officials.
The Ghaziabad forest department registered two first information reports (FIRs) against the officials for constructing a sewage treatment plant and building of canal carrying sewage without preventing it from overflowing in to the forest. But the officials did not act for a year.
Subsequently, Vashishtha lodged a complaint with the forest department with a copy to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, principal secretary environment and principal secretary urban development.
After the Dec 26, 2013 correspondence from Lucknow to the forest department, a complaint was lodged against three municipal officials – horticulture officer, horticulture inspector and a supervisor in the same department.
The forest department Feb 11 registered another FIR in a case pertaining to massive concretisation on the surface which hampered the biodiversity of the city. In this FIR, the forest department named chief engineer R.K. Mittal, assistant engineer B.D. Bhardwaj, junior engineer Pankaj Gupta and contractor Sachin Garg.
Both the FIRs have been registered under sections 3 (V), 4 and 10 of the UP Protection of Trees Act, 1976. “Legal action against the named officials has yet to be taken,” said Joga Singh, district forest officer, Ghaziabad.