Calcutta High Court yesterday issued an interim stay on further felling of trees near Lataguri under Nagrakata police station of Cooch Behar till further order.
The workers of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation have been cutting trees on a stretch of NH31 for the construction of an over-bridge.
The order followed a petition by an environment activist, Subhrajyoti Chatterjee, who on behalf of at least 20 NGOs that work for nature, environment and wildlife conservation, alleged that the trees were being felled in the Dooars, which falls under the purview of national wildlife sanctuary, without prior approval from the central government.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapobrata Chakraborty asked the petitioner to move the National Green Tribunal on April 11 but decided to hear the matter on April 10 when the petitioner would have to justify his claim that the area under which the trees were being cut falls under national wildlife sanctuary.
Moving the petition on behalf of Chattterjee, advocate, Siddhartha Mitra alleged that altogether 3,000 trees of the forest area had already been felled.
"Since the area is under national wildlife sanctuary, permission is needed for cutting trees from the central authorities. But the WBFDC did not obtain any such permission. So, the court should issue a stay on cutting of trees in the area," Mitra argued.
Mitra also informed the court that Nagrakata police had arrested many environmentalists yesterday for protesting felling of trees.