Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Monday directed the state government not to fell trees on 100 acres of land allotted for setting up the National Prison Academy in Kotrepally, abutting the Damagundem forests in Vikarabad district, till further orders.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili took a serious view of the government not filing its response to notices were issued earlier on the matter after a PIL was filed. The PIL, filed by the Damagundam Forest Protection JAC, a registered society, had complained about the government’s approval to cut more than one lakh trees in the land.
The petitioners said the land was adjacent to the forest and it contained rare species of trees and plants with medical value. They also said that the land in the survey number measured 300 acres, no land allowed for cultivation and was not being assigned for any person though it was not forest land.
Rachana V., counsel for the petitioners, submitted that documents prepared by the Survey of India in 1969 had showed larger forest cover in the Damagundem forest compared to that of 2001-02. Further, counsel said that till 2021 the government had furnished to the court that the land would not be handed over to any department. Now, all of sudden, it was planning to remove the green cover in the guise of establishing the National Prison Academy.
After hearing the contentions, the court directed the government not to cut trees in the land till the next date of hearing and adjourned the PIL to after summer vacation.