Report on felling of trees and digging/excavation of murum sand in Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve, Gondia and Bhandara districts, Maharashtra, 21/01/2021
Submission of joint report of Chief Wildlife Warden, Maharashtra and Assistant Inspector General, NTCA in the matter of Sachin Rangari Vs State of Maharashtra & Others dated 21/01/2021.
The matter related to felling of trees and digging/excavation of murum sand in Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve, Gondia and Bhandara districts of Maharashtra.
An enquiry committee under the Chairmanship of District Collector, Gondia in its report to the Maharashtra government on August 1, 2020 said that murum had been excavated for repairing the roads in Nagzira sanctuary. The murrum excavated from the reserve has been used in existing road repair work within the Nagzira wildlife sanctuary. The road repair work is done every year for patrolling and management activities of the Nagzira wildlife sanctuary. JCB machines were used in excavation of murrum needed for road repairs. No trees were observed to be felled while excavating murrum. Repairing of roads is done for protection purpose and hence there is no violation under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. In October 2020, Sachin Rangari made a fresh and similar complaint in Koka Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhandara District alleging felling of 10000 trees and excavation of murum.
The Conservator of Forest and Field Director, NNTR in its enquiry report said that there was no massive illicit felling of trees in Koka wildlife sanctuary. Murum excavated in few locations was used only for road repair works which were used for protection of forest and wildlife in Koka Wildlife Sanctuary.
The report stated that Sachin Rangari had repeatedly made allegations about the works in NNTR since June 2020 and has "malafide intentions to defame the Maharashtra forest department, especially wildlife wing." Complainant seemed to have no basic knowledge of FCA, WLPA and principles of wildlife management, especially meadow development. This is what the officers and staff working in NNTR realised from the allegations made by the complainant against the officers and staff from Nagzira wildlife sanctuary and Koka wildlife Sanctuary, the report made online on the NGT site, February 9, 2021.