Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh): Rampant felling of trees has been going on in the district for the past several years.
Nevertheless, the officials of the forest department, and those of the district administration are keeping mum over the issue.
The mafias are felling trees in Panna, Tikamgarh and Niwari areas in the district.
Once, these areas were covered with dark green forest, but now, the deforested land is being used for agriculture.
Mafias have occupied thousands of hectares in the Junwani area in Bajna forest circle to grow crops.
The forest officials, however, do not take any action against the encroachers.
The then ranger Ashutosh Agnihotri tried to remove the encroachers from the forestlands, but he could not continue the drive for some unknown reasons.
Crores of rupees have been spent on conservation of forest in Chhatarpur, but that could not stop the forest mafias.
There are six forest circles in Chhatarpur forest division. In all the circles, trees are being felled and the lands used for growing crops.
The mafias first cut off trees and made the land ready for agriculture.
On the other hand, the mafias are destroying forests and hills in Luv-Kush Nagar forest circle for granite.
Many people have built houses on the deforested land.
In the name of mining stones, trees are being felled in Naradpur, Kutaraiya, Manjguwan and Hara.
According to Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Bhopal) RK Gupta, the department is trying to stop felling of trees and encroachment on forestland.
If he gets written complaint about the felling of trees and illegal mining, he will inquire into it, Gupta said.