The National Green Tribunal recently fined Reliance Jio an amount of Rs. 10 lakhs for the illegal felling of trees in the Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh.
The telecom major Reliance Jio cut 125 Avenue Trees in the Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh, for the laying an Optical Fibre Cable. The Kurnool District houses flora which are endangered species thus granting the forested area protection under law.
The District forest officer notified the company of the illegality of its actions and issued a show-cause notice to Reliance Jio. While the company responded to the allegations – calling them wholly incorrect – the District Forest Officer was unsatisfied with the response requested a further reply from the company.
On receiving no further response, the District Forest Officer issued a fine of Rs. 2,09,825. This amount was furnished by Reliance Jio before the further proceedings were initiated. The case was registered against Reliance Jio along with the construction company it engaged – Laxmi Constructions in the NGT.
The qorum of the Chairperson of the NGT Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel along with two experts increased the fine amount to Rupees 10 lakh, stating that the magnitude of the company’s violations satisfied the absence of any basis for limiting the compensation to the initial fine.
The Tribunal further directed that the amount be deposited within a months time and be spent by the Forest Department for the restoration of the area.
The order – written by Justice AK Goel – comes from C. Janardana Reddy versus Jio Reliance Company (Original Application No. 649/2018)