A meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has decided to cut down trees on public land posing a danger to life and property. The decision has been taken in the wake of a tragic incident in which a man was crushed to death under a tree at Maruthunkuzhy here recently.

The meeting has observed that branches posing danger or causing obstacles to traffic could be cut without the permission of the departments concerned. Department officials would have to apply to the revenue divisional officer or the executive magistrate under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for cutting down trees in precarious conditions.

A press note issued by the office of the Chief Minister has said that removing trees for development activities would require clearance from the tree committee concerned. The department concerned would have to plant 10 trees in lieu of each tree that is cut down.

The meeting has resolved to constitute a high-level committee chaired by the Principal Secretary, Forest, and comprising the Secretaries of the Public Works, Local Self-Government, and Environment departments to address complaints and grievances against the decisions of the district-level tree committees.

K. Muraleedharan, MLA; Dinesh Sharma, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister; Principal Secretary, Forest, Pradeep Kumar; Secretary, Public Works, T.O. Sooraj; Principal Chief Conservator of Forests R. Rajaraja Varma; District Collector K.N. Satheesh Kumar; and Chief Engineer, Public Works, P.K. Satheesan; have participated in the meeting.

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