Tree felling issue takes a political turn in Thrikkakara

A day after the Thrikkakara Municipal Secretary lodged a police complaint about unauthorised felling of trees, the councillor of the division from which the trees were found missing has dubbed the complaint as politically motivated.

Municipal Secretary N.K. Krishnakumar had petitioned the police about the unauthorised felling of trees in division 35 of the municipality.

Sajeena Akbar, the division councillor of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a constituent of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF), claimed that she had already written to the tree committee for cutting a few trees after local residents complained that they posed danger to life and property. “But there wasn’t timely action and instead I was asked to fell the trees at my expense and then to produce the bill to get it reimbursed. Subsequently, a few trees were felled during May-June when there was heavy rain and wind,” she said.

Ms. Akbar alleged that the incident was now being raised after so many months after she raised some uncomfortable questions in the last council meeting, which was a stormy affair. Though the questions were posed at the secretary, it put the governing committee on the back foot, which she cited as the reason for raising allegations of tree felling. Mr. Krishnakumar wasn’t available for comments despite repeated efforts.

Municipal Chairperson Ajitha Thankappan was non-committal when asked about the incident. “Local people reportedly complained to the health inspector about the missing trees and he, in turn, reported it to the Secretary. The Secretary told me that a petition has been lodged with the police. After all, the responsibility should be fixed if the trees had gone missing,” she said.

The five councillors of the IUML have somewhat a fractured relationship with the Congress in the municipality where the UDF governing committee had swung from one crisis to another, including the gift controversy during Onam. IUML councillors had expressed dissatisfaction about the alleged neglect by the governing committee and had given the UDF some tense moments during the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition LDF before falling in line following the intervention of the District Congress Committee.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 8:48:22 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/tree-felling-issue-takes-a-political-turn-in-thrikkakara/article38057901.ece