Monday, September 21, 2009

OBJECTION SUSTAINED!

OBJECTION SUSTAINED!
An ignorant resident, brushing aside the objections of a passerby, continued to chop a tree only to be caught in the act by cops
DEEPTHI M R


Felling a tree is no child’s play. If you decide to fell a tree in your neighbourhood, beware! You may end up inviting trouble.
Tree felling is an offense but many house owners are not aware of this fact. Since the conviction rate is very low, many people take things for granted and chop trees, assuming the trees are a part of their private property. On Sunday morning, an alert citizen helped the police book an uninformed house owner who was cutting a tree outside his courtyard, apparently to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
On Sunday morning, Kumar, a resident of fourth block, Rajajinagar, was in the process of cutting a Peltoform tree, more commonly known as Yellow Gold Mohar, when a passerby, Dr Anwar, questioned his motive behind cutting the tree. “I was passing by his house and noticed that he was cutting the tree. I pulled my car over and questioned him,” Anwar said. “But Kumar lost his cool and started shouting at me. He rudely told me that the tree belonged to him and that he was using his discretion to do whatever he liked with the tree. When I tried to explain to him about the legalities of chopping a tree, Kumar said that thanks to the tree, mosquitoes were swarming his house, especially in the evenings”, Anwar said.
When Anwar asked him for the letter of permission from the forest department, Kumar got even more irritable. “I did not want to speak with him as he was very angry. He did not have a permit from the forest department either. So I called up the Rajajinagar police station and with in a few minutes, two constables arrived. After this, I left,” he said.
Kumar was summoned to the police station. Later, a forest official visited the station and registered a complaint against Kumar. The official said that they would undertake a mahajar of the place soon. “After inspection, Kumar may be levied with a fine and if he refuses to relent, then further action will be taken,” said the official. However, Kumar admitted his ignorance as regards the procedures. “I had to cut the tree as the roots were affecting the house foundation,” said Kumar.
An official from the forest department said, “Many house owners think that the trees like their flower plants can be uprooted or chopped. But this conception is wrong. Official permission is required for felling a tree grown even in one’s courtyard. And it is only on acquiring permission that a house owner can chop a tree. Like any human cannot be killed, the trees also have some immunity and can’t be killed.”
Speaking of such cases, Ramachandrappa, Forest Range Officer, said that these cases were remote. However, they get over 20 applications in a week to fell trees in the city.
PROCEDURE FOR
FELLING A TREE
An application must be submitted to the forest officer stating the reasons for wanting to fell a tree. An inspection will be conducted by the Range Forest Officer who may or may not permit the felling. Incase permission is granted, contractors will be called to the spot along with a forest officer. In case the felling is not necessary, pruning may be advised and the contractor will be permitted to just trim the branches. If a tree is cut with out permission, then an FIR is generally filed and the offender is fined. If he fails to pay the fine, then a charge sheet is drawn and he will be produced in court.

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