The District Green Committee has penalised a shop located on M.G. Road of Vannanthurai near Besant Nagar for cutting an avenue tree on Thursday. The shop had to cough up ₹50,000 as a fine. The Green Committee comprising officials of the District Forest Officer and the Chennai Corporation inspected the site where the avenue tree was chopped and fined the offender. The joint inspection was based on a complaint filed by an office-bearer of Nizhal, an NGO. The District Green Committees have been set up in all districts with officials of various government departments being part of it.
A senior official of Adyar Zone of the civic body said a complaint was filed with the Park Overseer of the Park department who immediately informed the zonal officer. The zonal officer deputed a local official and the Park Overseer along with Forest Ranger to inspect the spot and fined the commercial shop for cutting the avenue tree located outside the shop. A case has also been filed in the Thiruvanmiyur police station, he added.
Shobha Menon, founder-trustee of Nizhal, thanking her colleague T.D. Babu for taking up the chopping of avenue tree to the civic body, said the fining of a shop by the civic body would be a shot in the arm in their struggle to protect mature trees in the city. She said mature trees are at the mercy of many insensitive people, at different levels and situations and with State government taking steps, there is hope for these trees to be protected. Nizhal has been appealing to the State government for a dedicated tree helpline, as the trust has been receiving calls for protecting the trees from various parts of the State.
A senior official of the Chennai District Forest Office said the District Green Committee has proposed to convene the first meeting shortly wherein steps to increase the green cover, prevent illegal cutting/chopping of trees and mapping of standing trees would be taken up.
Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary of Environment, Climate Change and Forest department, had, on social media, appreciated the corporation, forest officials and Nizhal, for taking steps to penalise the shop for cutting the tree in Besant Nagar.