Citizen scuffles spike tree-cutting plaints

154 complaints were registered last month; officials cite rise in awareness and internal conflicts on illegal chopping leading to rise in reports
Conflicts among residents over tree cutting have turned out to be beneficial for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) which has been able to register more complaints regarding the issue.The civic body’s garden department has issued notices to 154 people in the last five months, which is a two-fold increase from annual 80 complaints received every year.Santosh Kamble, PMC’s assistant garden superintendent, said, “We have sent show cause notices to people based on the complaints we have received. After they reply, we will proceed to the court.“

He cited increased awareness and internal conflict among people are the reason behind rise in complaints. People register their complaints through e mail, phone calls from unknown numbers as well as in writing. “We visit the place and conduct a panchanama, click photos of the site and then send notices,“ Kamble said. Before 2009, the civic body would only penalise those involved in tree cutting. It was only after the high court order that notices are being sent followed by filing of criminal cases in the court.

Tree Authority Committee, which comprises 13 corporators and 12 nongovernmental organisations (NGO), looks after permissions for tree cutting.In every meeting, which is conducted every 45 days, they take decision over citizens’ applications for tree cutting, branch trimming and replantation.The committee is tasked with protection and preservation of all trees within respective jurisdictions, carry out a census of existing trees on all lands every five years, prescribing standards specifying the number and type of trees each plot of land, transplantation of trees because of road construction or for safeguarding against danger to life and property, giving advice and assistance to those who seek it in any matter connected with planting, protection and preservation of trees.

Source : TOI