Godavari plywoods (Jungle)

Godavari Plywoods Case Study

Godavari Plywoods (JUNGLE)

In 1986, both the Godavari districts were under severe floods. The Chipko leader, Chandiprasad Bhatt, enquired the reasons for such unforeseen floods and came to Rampachodavaram as stayed as a guest with SAKTI [1]. He went on padayatra for 7 days and being a sarvodaya leader he was advising to mobilise the people to hug the trees marked for felling in East Godavari District. But, in Godavari District the villages and the felling operations are at a distant place, and it is not possible for people to do such kind of activism where they can go and hold the trees and moreover the area is under the control of Naxalites who have some agreements with the wood-based industries. SAKTI rose up to the occasion to focus on the wild mango tree felling by Godavari plywood in large number in East Godavari and Vishaka Districts. SAKTI filed a PIL in the high court of AP in 1987 which stayed the felling of of fruit-bearing trees [2].

The Forest dept and Godavari plywoods filed reply stating that they are following the rules of selective felling. SAKTI collected that information from the court and found in the field that they were often violated [3]. Meanwhile, because of news on felling of trees and litigations prompted the then Chief Minister Mr. N. T. Rama Rao to raise the royalty rates to be paid by the wood-based industries [4]. Then the factory went on litigation that they should be allowed to fell the trees earmarked for felling before the royalty raise came into force. Meanwhile, the factory became financially sick and it was referred to Board of Industrial and Financial reconstruction. Meanwhile the forest dept. revised the working plan acknowledging the unrest over felling of wild mango trees which are source of food for tribals and animals alike in the summer [5].

At this point of time both the govt and industry came to an agreement and govt issued a G.O allowing the factory to resume felling [6]. SAKTI came to know about this GO and challenged this according to forest conservation act amended in 1988 [7]. As per the amended act prior consent of MoEFCC is mandatory for felling of natural forest. The Court directed not to go ahead with felling without obtaining prior felling. This court order predates a similar order given by the Supreme Court in T. N. Godavaraman Case [8].

[1] Janasatta news article 1987; [2] W.P. 1987 vs Godavari Plywoods; [3] Rules of selective felling article by Times of India in 1990; [4] GO to raise rates; [5] Forest Working Plan (’95-05); [6] GO to resume felling; [7] WP in 1995 challenging GO; [8] WP Godavaraman Case [9] Fight for Forest refer pg 7-8 of think globally.