Saturday, May 22, 2010

Greens win one for trees in state

Greens win one for trees in state

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 22 May 2010 03:08:53 AM ISTLast Updated : 22 May 2010 07:07:38 AM IST
BANGALORE: In a victory for environmentalists, the state government has temporarily dropped the proposal to amend the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act (1976).
The decision to drop the proposed amendment was announced on Friday by Ananth Hegde Ashisa, the Chairman of the Western Ghat Taskforce. Ashishara said that a meeting of environmentalists and experts would soon be convened to decide the next course of action.
The proposed amendment, which allowed the axing of 42 tree species including tamarind, mango, eucalyptus, lemon and neem on private lands without obtaining prior permission from the forest department, drew flak as it would have led to indiscriminate felling of trees across the state.
Welcoming the decision of the government, Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group termed it a victory for all those who protested the amendment. “We welcome the decision of the government to invite us for talks. The very purpose of the (Tree Preservation) Act would have been defeated if the proposed amendment was allowed to go through,” he said.
The Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976, mandates that no person shall fell any tree or cause any tree to be felled in any land, whether it was in his ownership or otherwise, unless permission was granted by the tree officer.
The proposal to amend the Act was put forward by the Forest Department after farmers complained of harassment by forest officials when they sought permission to cut trees in their vicinity.
Ashishara distanced the state government from the controversial legislation and said that the government had no role in the entire episode.
The proposal was mooted by the Forest Department under pressure from farmers who wanted the restrictions on tree felling removed, he said.

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