Taking the fight against environmental destruction a step further, environmentalists are planning to make those behind the axing of mangroves at Nettoor pay for the environmental damage caused.
“Once the Forest Department files the First Information Report in the case, a petition will be moved for levying the amount equivalent to environment damage caused by the cutting of mangroves,” said Antony Ashanparambil, an eco-activist and chairman of the development standing committee of the Maradu municipality.
Last week, some had axed mangrove vegetation in around two acres at Maradu, leading to widespread protest. They had cut down trees aged over 25 years. Condemning the incident and seeking action against those responsible for the act, the Maradu municipality had passed a resolution besides filing complaints with the local police, Revenue Department and the Forest Department.
On its part, the Territorial Division of the Kerala Forest Department has booked an offence in court for chopping down the trees. It had also identified a person who had allegedly cut down the mangroves. The officials suspect that one more person is involved in the case. The case was booked by invoking the provisions of the Kerala Promotion of Tree Growth in Non-Forest Areas. “The law provides a maximum punishment of imprisonment up to six months or fine of Rs. 25,000,” said Suneel Pamidi, Divisional Forest Officer, Malayattoor.
Meanwhile, green activists in the Nettoor area are planning to nurse back the remaining trees in the area to life. The roots of the trees, which were cut down, are still there. Shoots would grow back from the roots buried in the soil, said Mr. Antony.
The fishermen of Kumbalam and Panangad areas had successfully grown the mangroves from the stumps of the axed plants. They had nursed the mangroves and applied manure. There is the possibility of shoots coming up during rain. The environmentalists would try such techniques in Nettoor too, he said.