The US consulate has setup temporary office in “Paigah Palace” in Hyderabad. There were reports in the press that very old trees were being felled upon the request from US consulate authorities. This OUTLOOK article also talks of the same.
Both the Consulate authorities and David C. Mulford (the then US Ambassador) vehemently denied having made any such request to fell trees inside and outside the palace. David C. Mulford (the then US Ambassador) replied in the outlook article saying, “
“The Paigah Palace Whodunnit
Your article Timber! Timber! (May 26) on trees being cut in the Paigah Palace compound in Hyderabad ahead of the US opening its consulate there is inflammatory. It contains multiple factual inaccuracies, because your reporters never contacted us or offered us a fair opportunity to reply to your allegations. The United States fully accepts responsibility for the stewardship of leased historic properties. We have agreed to protect and maintain the Paigah Palace—and to return it in five years in its restored condition. Our lease agreement also specifies that we will return the palace grounds adorned with twice the number of plants and trees present when we began our tenancy. Moreover, the cutting of trees outside the palace walls, it was done by the city corporation—not for or at the request of the consulate. I want to reassure Outlook readers that the US Mission respects India’s local customs and traditions.”
To know the truth, i filed an RTI with the Forest Department and the forest department said the felling was done upon the request of the US Consulate. The reply said, “The US Consulate has given representation for felling of trees in paigah palace to the Dy.collector and tahsildar, Balanagar Mandal, RR dist. the Dy.collector and tahsildar, Balanagar Mandal, RR dist has requested this office for according permission for felling of trees in paigah palace vide ref No B/14040/2007, dated 7.1.2008”
Permission was given to cut a total of 62 trees based on the representation given by the US Consulate.
The US Consulate has to now tell if the Forest Department is lying. Why does US have different standards? I can only imagine how much of news it could have made if this happened somewhere on US soil.
Use RTI and you can nail a lot of lies like these.
Use RTI !!!