Lucknow: The illegal felling of trees is fast depriving Uttar Pradesh of its precious forest wealth. In 2012-13, trees worth Rs 1.4 crore have been illegally chopped off on the forest land. This is only the "reported" loss of timber and does not include unaccounted cases. On January 18, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav suspended 13 employees of forest department, including officers, for illegal felling of trees in Bahraich division.
Between March and December 2012, at least 40 forest employees were suspended for failing to check illegal cutting of trees. The government has been on a suspension overdrive against forest employees and the recent suspensions have added to the figures. The officers admit that it's for the first time that the lower-rung staff has faced the heat for timber theft in the state.