Friday, April 30, 2010

Is Garden City’s green cover under threat?

Is Garden City’s green cover under threat?
Amendment To Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act Could Result In Rampant Tree Felling

Bangalore: At a time when the city’s green cover is depleting, the government is thinking of amending the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act.
If the amendment comes through, anyone and everyone will have the licence to fell trees like mango, neem, guava, sapota, arecanut, jackfruit, without the forest department’s permission.
As per present provisions of the Act, only casuarinas, coconut, erythima, gylerecida, silver oak and subabul can be cut down without permission. But in the amendment proposed by the forest department, 35 other varities have been included. What’s further worrying is that some of these trees are of high biodiversity value. Pongemia, prosopis, rubber, tamarind, burma bamboo, varieties of acacia are also included in the new list.
“The proposal, in its present form, is a threat to the green cover. I understand that the department wants to amend the law because of demands from plantation owners and farmers. But that has to be specified in law. A blanket exemption will only provide licence to chop trees indiscriminately. The move could be a boon to the t i m b e r lobby, but will destroy the greenery of Bangalore,” said Vinay Sreenivasa of Hasiru Usiru.
According to N L Shantkumar, conservator of forests at BBMP: “It’s only at a proposal stage. The government is yet to take a decision. The proposal was put forward to ensure that farmers and plantation owners don’t need to seek permission from the forest department every time they cut down trees. But we don’t know the likely repercussions. Obviously, utmost care should be taken to prevent treefelling in public places,” he said.
According to forest department sources, the government has sought clarification on some of the clauses in the proposed amendment.


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