One such incident took place on Wednesday noon when a family in Ramdaspeth was found cutting a fully grown teak tree, which is a scheduled tree. For cutting it, the members should have taken permission from Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) garden department as well as state forest department.
On noticing heavy cutting of the tree, members of Green Vigil Foundation enquired about the permission. “The house owner informed us that they were cutting the tree for installing a solar panel. They had not taken permission from the civic body or forest department,” said Kaustav Chatterjee, founder of the NGO.
It was only after the NGO members contacted garden department officials that the house owner stopped cutting the tree. “However, by then almost 40% of the tree was cut,” said Chatterjee.
As per NMC garden department officials, the number of cases of illegal tree felling inside residential premises is equal to those felled at public places. “It is a common perception among people that they don’t need permission to cut trees in their premises. However, as per norms, even the trees planted by them inside their own houses come under the jurisdiction of NMC,” said officials.
While it was a common complaint of many that seeking permission for tree cutting was a slow process, officials said that the new rules have simplified the process. “As per the amended the Maharashtra (Urban Trees) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, the permission of tree authority is not needed if the number of trees to be felled is 25 or less. The permission of chief municipal commissioner is needed which is quite easy to obtain,” they added.
Chatterjee said that aggressive awareness campaigns are needed to save the city’s depleting tree cover.
FOLLOW THE RULES
What you should do if you want to cut trees?
1. Submit an application to NMC garden department, seeking permission to cut or trim trees
2. Write the reason and attach photographs of the tree’s location
3. A team from NMC garden department will conduct a spot inspection to check if the reason for cutting trees is genuine
4. If officials grant permission, submit the required amount at the department
5. Get refund after carrying out plantations in 1:5 ratio