Green activists, on Monday, resisted an attempt to cut trees “without permission” on Bharathi Park Road in front of an upcoming building.
N.I. Jalaludeen of Nature Conservation Society (NCS) said that an earthmover was seen preparing to uproot three trees on the Bharathi Park Road. Following information, green activists Mohammed Saleem of Environment Conservation Group, Mahesh Prasanna of Osai and representatives reached the place along with Jalaludeen.
A person at the construction site reportedly told the activists that he had nothing to do with the cutting of trees. Later, the green enthusiasts spoke to the Chief Engineer of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) who made it clear that TANGEDCO had not sought to cut trees or prune the branches in the locality as part of the department’s monsoon preparedness to prevent disruption in supply.
The green activists then spoke to the Revenue Divisional Officer S. Shanthakumar who also denied granting permission. The Tahsildar (North) then deputed a Village Administrative Officer to the spot. On seeing the trees and the location, the VAO told his higher officials that the trees were in no way an obstruction to any one and ruled out the necessity for removing them, Mr.Jalaludeen added.
Mr.Jalaludeen said that a resolution moved by the Corporation on April 18 seeking criminal action against those opposing tree cutting that “hampered development works” had come as an encouragement for people to resort to indiscriminate tree felling. Mr.Jalaludeen said that an earthmover was there to break the branches of the trees. The claim made by a person in the area that trees got uprooted on its own was false, he said.
As suggested by the revenue officials, the green activists went to the Sai Baba Colony Police Station and preferred a complaint. Following refusal to even issue a Community Service Register (CSR) receipt, the green activists preferred the complaint with Assistant Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) S. Suresh and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), Hema Karunagaran, who in turn directed the Sai Baba Colony Police to register an FIR. Mr.Jalaludeen said, “we have given the number of the earth mover used at the spot” and the earth mover driver would be able to identify the person who hired the same for removing the trees, so that investigations can proceed in the right direction.”
OSAI representatives pointed out that a Tree Protection Committee was constituted only to save the remaining green cover in the city. The committee came into existence after many incidents of trees felling and protests. Granting permission to cut trees without inspection and application of mind was earlier a cause for concern. Even after having resolved this issue, indiscriminate cutting of trees by persons without permission was going on.
Vanitha Mohan of Siruthuli told The Hindu that green activists, Government and the Forest Department were toiling hard to plant saplings and nurture them into trees. Under such circumstances, it was unfortunate that people resorted to indiscriminate felling of trees. It was time the administration came down heavily on such offenders.
Green activists were not against development. In the event of absolute necessity to remove a tree, it could be done after obtaining permission. But, axing trees without rhyme or reason would leave a lasting effect on future generations, she added. Whenever trees had to be removed, there should be a mechanism to ensure that the loss in green cover was compensated in the form of planting saplings in lieu of the axed trees, she said.