Forest minister Vijay Shah on Saturday defended his cabinet colleague Usha Thakur who has been accused of being involved in forcibly taking away vehicles seized by the forest department for illegal mining.
"Some forest officials are over-enthusiastic and blowing a small incident out of proportion. It is not a big deal and such incidents often take place in villages," Shah said while interacting with the media.
Recently, forest guard Ram Suresh Dubey had lodged a complaint that Thakur led a group of supporters who barged into a forest department office and forcibly took away JCB and a tractor-trolley seized for illegal digging in a protected area. Thakur and her supporters, numbering around 20, also allegedly threatened the staff at the forest office in Badgonda in Indore district on Sunday evening.
“Construction of such roads by village panchayats is common and should not be made into a big deal,” Shah said. “The permission from forest department in such cases is just a formality,” Shah added.
Shah said panchayat will take necessary permission and resolve the issue.
Seized JCB & tractor-trolley forcibly taken away
The incident happened in Aada Pahad, where large-scale illegal excavation was going on.
On receipt of the complaint about the excavation, on January 10, the forest officials investigated and found that illegally excavation was in process in the region no 66 of Badgonda forest area in Mhow range.
The murram being extracted was being used for road construction without taking any necessary permissions.
The forest officials seized a JCB numbered MP 41 HE 0576 and a tractor and trolley used for excavation.
According to the complaint given to the Badgonda police, on January 11, “Information was sent by forest guard Johar Singh saying that besides Thakur, Manoj Patidar, Sunil Yadav, Virendra Anjana, Amit Joshi, Sunil Patidar, Pradeep Patidar, and another 15 to 20 people entered forest office forcibly and took JCB, tractor and trolley with them.”