A bench of the NGT Thursday issued notice to the state chief secretary and the principal secretary (forests) to file their reply before Jan 8, the next date of hearing.
The state government has registered a case of illegal felling of 477 trees on private land in the Tara Devi temple area and suspended two forest officials, including beat officer Kundan Lal.
Principal Secretary (Forests) Tarun Shridhar told reporters that a team of forest officials visited the site and found trees, including deodar and oak, being felled.
Officials said divisional forest officer Vinod Kumar had been transferred and a case had been registered against Parminder Kaur for felling the trees.
“The reason for large-scale cutting of trees is yet to be ascertained,” said an official.
In the report, the forest department pointed out that the owner of the land allegedly tried to burn the stumps and branches of the chopped trees.
The opposition BJP has demanded a probe by a sitting high court judge.