The National Green Tribunal recently ordered Reliance Jio to pay a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs for illegally felling trees in Kurnool District in order to lay Optic Fibre Lines.
This order came while the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal comprising of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Dr. Nagin Nanda and Mr. Siddhanta Das was hearing the issue of the illegal felling of trees in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh for laying underground Optic Fibre Line from Nannoor to Veldurthy Village by JIO – Reliance.
The Tribunal had directed the Divisional Forest Officer to furnish a factual and action report in the matter. The Action Taken Report filed on 13.11.2019 stated that, “The District Forest Officer issued a show cause notice to M/s. Reliance Jio Company” to which M/s. Reliance Jio Company replied that “the allegations in the show cause notice are wholly incorrect.” Not being satisfied with the reply the District Forest Officer asked for a further reply but to no avail as no reply was received.
When the District Forest Officer received no reply, he issued directions to remit an amount of Rs. 2,09,825 towards NPV for damaging the 125 avenue trees. M/s. Laxmi Constructions, which was engaged by M/s. Reliance Jio remitted the amount. An offence case was also registered against M/s. Laxmi Constructions u/s 28(5) of A. P. Water Land and Trees Act and under Rule 4 & 5 of Andhra Pradesh (Protection of Trees and Timber in Public Premises) Rules, 1989.
The court, acknowledging the violations and magnitude, increased the compensation amount from 2 lakh to 10 lakh.
— India Legal Bureau