Congress accuses Pratap Simha's brother of illegal tree felling in Karnataka's Hassan

Belur Tahsildar Mamatha during a routine visit on December 17 found that a variety of trees had been unlawfully chopped down on the land allegedly taken on lease by BJP MP Pratap Simha’s brother Vikram.
Vikram Simha, brother of BJP Member of Parliament Pratap Simha
Vikram Simha, brother of BJP Member of Parliament Pratap SimhaTwitter
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The Congress party has accused Vikram Simha, brother of BJP Member of Parliament Pratap Simha, of illegally felling 126 trees on a 10-acre plot at Nandagodanahalli in Belur taluk in Karnataka’s Hassan district.

According to reports, Vikram Simha leased three acres and 10 guntas from Jayamma of Nandagodanahalli for ginger cultivation. One gunta is equal to 1089 sq ft. However, during a routine visit by Belur Tahsildar Mamatha on December 17, it was discovered that a variety of trees, including teak, worth crores of rupees were unlawfully felled in the leased land and the adjacent government gomala (cattle pasturage) land. 

Belur Tahsildar Mamatha alerted the Forest Department, instructing them to file a case and launch a thorough investigation. Following these directives, an FIR has been registered against landowners Jayamma and Rakesh Shetty. The felled trees have been moved to a department storage depot.

A Deccan Herald report quoting Tahsildar M Mamatha said that the illegal tree felling extended to both Jayamma's leased land and 10 acres of land that lies contiguous to it. Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre has said that swift action would be taken. It is alleged that Vikram Simha had an agreement to grow ginger on the land but violated it by chopping down trees.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka branch of the Congress party took a jab at Pratap Simha, alleging that his family is engaged in the illicit activity of smuggling timber valued at crores. Referring to it as a scandal resembling a movie plot, the Congress party in its statement on X (formerly Twitter), said that Pratap Simha, the MP from Mysuru, was preoccupied with issuing passes to intruders in Parliament while his brother Vikram Simha was involved in timber theft. 

Responding to the accusations, Vikram Simha said, "I've been engaged in ginger cultivation for the past 15 years. My lease on Jayamma's land starts on January 1, 2024. There is no link between me and the tree felling incident. My brother is being targeted as the election is here. Let them investigate the allegations of tree felling.” 

BJP MP Pratap Simha recently made headlines for issuing visitors’ passes to the intruders who breached security and opened smoke canisters while the winter session was underway in the Lok Sabha on December 13. 

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