Mandi: Hundreds of deodar trees have allegedly been felled in Sundernagar forest division in connivance with the junior officials of the department despite blanket ban on cutting trees. It was done in order to make an eight-kilometer link road to the orchard of a cabinet minister of the state hailing from this district. Nearly 400 green trees have already been cut with impunity and the cutting spree is still on. An abortive attempt to make this road from Jachhgala to Dabar Dwar had also been made way back in 1992. Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had reportedly sought a report from the forest department and shelved the proposal to construct the road in view of large felling of green deodar trees in its construction. The DFO Sundernagar at that time had reported that it was not feasible to construct the road which involved large scale felling of green trees.
It is alleged that the powerful cabinet minister recently manipulated the posting of his relative as Range Officer, Jhungi, and went ahead with the illegal construction in a highly clandestine manner and mercilessly axed hundreds of trees. Divisional Forest Officer, Suket T.R. Dhiman when contacted expressed ignorance about the large scale felling in his Division. He said he would enquire into the matter. Meanwhile, the local people are reported to have sent telegrams to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court and Himachal Pradesh High Court. Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh has also been informed about the slaughtering of the trees.