‘Penalise those cutting trees without permission’
An attempt to cut a huge neem tree (Azadirachta indica) at a children’s park in Pappanaickenpalayam area led to protest from green activists on Thursday morning.
According to Mohammed Saleem of Environment Conservation Group, the Non-Governmental Organisation received information that a huge tree was being felled to make way for a building behind the park.
Due to such mindless tree cutting, Coimbatore, once popular for its green cover and salubrious climate, had almost lost all trees along the arterial roads, he said.
On information, Ms.Vanitha Mohan of Siruthuli and scores of green activists thronged the spot. This resulted in commotion for some time. But, by the time the activists reached there, a substantial portion of the tree was already cut.
Following the vociferous objection from them, the workers involved in cutting the tree left the spot.
Mr.Saleem pointed out that evading the watchful eyes of green activists, people were resorting to tree cutting at odd hours and at night.
He expressed regret over the official machinery failing to respond to the request of the green activists, NGOs and nature lovers to penalise those found guilty of tree cutting.
This had resulted in illegal tree cutting going unabated. Green activists were not against development works but under the garb of it, there should not be indiscriminate or blanket sanction for felling trees, he added.
Unfortunately, the Tree Protection Committee with representatives from Revenue, Forest Department and NGOs had not met even once ever since it was constituted. The objective of constituting the committee was to examine the requests seeking permission to cut trees on a case-by-case basis and to recommend whether cutting tree was inevitable or not.
Unless the administration came down heavily on offences such as tree cutting without obtaining permission from the competent authority, Coimbatore would definitely lose even the remaining green cover, Mr.Saleem said.
There was also a need to have honorary tree wardens to help the official machinery save trees in any locality.
It may be noted that the NGOs were upset over the permission granted to cut more than 30 trees in the name of enabling the widening of 3.8-km road from Aatuppalam to Kovaipudur pirivu.