Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Tree Act amendment proposal gets red signal from greens

Tree Act amendment proposal gets red signal from greens

Team DNA

Environmentalists of Bangalore have smelt a conspiracy in the proposal to amend the Karnataka Preservation of Tree Act, 1976 to increase the number of tree species that can be cut without necessary approvals from 11 to 44.
The greens made their opposition to the move clear at a public hearing organised by the forest department in Bangalore on Tuesday.
The amendment to the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976 proposes to increase the number of exempted species of trees to 44 from the existing 11. The exempted trees can be felled without prior permission. Many farmers were unaware of the list.
The farmers, represented by Karnataka Rajya Rahita Sangha, complained of difficulties while chopping off trees in their properties. "We have to approach the revenue and forest departments and revenue officials as well to cut down even a single tree," said Veerasangaiah, a farmer.
The green groups felt that such an amendment would damage the city's already shrinking green cover. They were of the view that the amendment would liberalise felling of trees. "The Act is not being implemented properly. The focus is only on the provision of cutting trees," complained Leo Saldanha from the Environment Support Group. He pointed out that the Act had several conservation rules that were hardly being implemented. According to Section 3 of the Act, a tree authority should be constituted for urban and rural areas. However, many complained that such authorities were defunct. Vinay Sreenivas, member, Hasiru Usiru, pointed out that the urban areas needed a stronger legislation.
Farmers and the green groups were surprised to find trees like peepul and banyan on the exempted list as they are unlikely to be felled. Currently, the trees allowed to be felled without prior permission include casuarina, coconut, erythrina, eucalyptus, rubber, sesbania, silver oak and subabul.


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