The National Green Tribunal has asked Reliance Jio to pay a compensation of fine of Rupees 10 lakhs for illegal cutting of trees in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh for laying underground Optic Fibre lines
The issue was regarding the illegal felling of 125 Avenue trees in Kurnool District for laying Optical Fibre Cable from Nannur to Veldurthy villages. The District Forest Officer, Kunoor had issued a show-cause notice to Reliance Jio Company and the company replied to the notice stating that the allegations in the show-cause notice are wholly incorrect. Not satisfied with the reply given by the Reliance JIo Company, the District Forest Officer, Kurnool requested the company for further reply regarding the same issue.
Since no further reply was received from the Reliance Jio Company, the District Forest Officer issued directions to remit an amount of Rs. 2,09,825/- for damaging 125 Avenue trees and the damage caused to the environment by violating the rules in force to the Government Head of Account. Accordingly M/s. Laxmi Constructions, a company engaged by the Reliance Jio Company remitted the said amount to the Government Head of Account.
Further, case was also registered against M/s. Laxmi Constructions for damaging Avenue trees under section 28(5) of A.P. Water Land and Trees Act, 2002 as well as Rules 4 & 5 of Andhra Pradesh (Protection of Trees and Timber in Public Premises) Rules, 1989. And also, an action was initiated for arresting Sri. Gogula Sreenivasulu of M/s. Laxmi Constructions and sending him to judicial custody.
The Chairperson bench said, "In view of acknowledged violations and magnitude thereof, we are satisfied that there is no basis for limiting the amount of compensation to about Rs. 2 lakhs. Having regard to the totality of circumstances, we are of the view that the amount should be enhanced to Rs. 10 lakhs. Ordered accordingly."
The NGT also added that the compensation amount of Rs. 10 lakh to be deposited within one month and the same to be spent by the Forest Department for the restoration of the area.
Title : C. Janardana Reddy v. Jio Reliance Company
Case No. : O.A. No. 649/2018
Corum : Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson)
Dr. Nagin Nanda, Expert Member
Mr. Siddhant A Das, Expert Member