AS PART of a crackdown on illegal forest encroachments, a large number of apple plants have been flattened by joint teams of the forest and revenue department in Rohru sub-division of Shimla to enforce orders of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.
Orchard owners who faced the axe on the their fruit-bearing plants included 13 of those for which High Court had identified as ‘big’ apple producers.
The drive had gained momentum over the past one week after the High Court had set a deadline of May 9 for the state government to file a status report on felling of apple trees raised illegally on forest land. A 13-member SIT led by Additional DC, Shimla, Debasweta Banik had been supervising the drive in Kotkhai, Jubbal and Rohru areas.
After the recent murder of Assistant Town Planner (ATP) Shail Bala during a demolition drive in Kasauli, Shimla Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap had issued orders asking all weapon holders to deposit their firearms. “The areas where felling of the plants was done have also been properly cornered off and access to the operational area is restricted,” he said.