The absence of a law, coupled with non-implementation of existing rules, is spelling doom for urban tree cover. Instances of tree felling in the city and its suburbs are on the rise and the tree lovers are keeping their fingers crossed as there are no solutions available for the moment.
L. Shylaja, a resident of Tirumalai Nagar, Ramapuram, said four years ago, 30 saplings were planted in her area and the children were asked to water and protect them. The saplings have become tall trees but a few months ago, one of the residents chopped a couple of trees. Again, last week, two more trees were cut down. “Corporation authorities were informed about the felling. They also visited the spot but there was no further action,” she lamented.
D. Vijayabaskar, a tree lover, who plants saplings and has been protecting trees on Alwarpet for over two decades, said most of the time, tree cutting happens during night. Even grown up trees are not spared. “In my area alone, more than a dozen fully grown trees have been axed,” he said.
Shekar Dattatri, wildlife filmmaker and conservationist said: “When you enter my street, which is full of trees, you will notice a palpable drop in the ambient temperature. If all of Chennai were like that, we would not only save hugely on electricity consumption, but the city would also be a far more pleasant place to live in.”
Sa. Raju, Director of Parks, Chennai Corporation, said that most of the time, they received complaints about trees that posed danger to the road users. With regard to felling, he said if the person involved in cutting the tree can be identified, a case could be registered.
Tree lovers have been demanding a strong law to crack down on indiscriminate felling.