Green Minute News

A site owner who illegally felled a much loved old tree on a public road in Bengaluru is likely to face criminal action.

The massive 37 year old tree was felled in BEML Layout, RR Nagar division on Wednesday morning. The illegal action has landed Veeranna, a site owner in problems and BBMP has directed the Deputy Conservator of Forests (BBMP) to take action against the offender.

Remains of the illegally chopped tree

On Monday morning, this huge tree was hacked on 1st main, 2nd cross, BEML 3rd stage near new Post Office. Concerned residents in this verdant locality raised a hue and cry and said the owner had completely destroyed the tree with the result, a habitat for many birds and other animals has been destroyed.

This tree also provided shade and shelter to many children and others, said Ashwini, a resident. “We requested them not to cut the tree as we have lived and played under the tree during our childhood. It has so many nests for birds and how could they have cut it despite our protests, we cannot understand.”

Another shocked resident, Sharat added, “We have been part of this place for 20 years and when I come back from work I see the tree gone. There was no obstruction and why they have cut it…educated people are doing this…I request the authorities to take action against the culprits.” 

Joseph Hoover, United Conservation Movement expressed his anger and said, “I cannot believe an educated person who is a chief engineer is responsible for such an illegal action. He deserves to be punished so that in the future nobody dares to fell trees on government land. This owner further claimed political influence while one or two residents supported him. This is madness – already the city is losing its verdant cover for infrastructure development and if every site owner starts cutting trees to build his house, what will be the this city’s plight?”

BBMP Joint commissioner Balshekar who visited the spot questioned the site owner and said, “Why are you cutting trees on the roadside? Who gave you permission? This is a criminal offence. If you go on felling trees, the garden city of Bengaluru will become a desert. If it is inside your site, you can do it but not on public land. For my own house, I have ensured that no tree was cut as the residents are conscious about tree protection. Who has certified that the branches were weak? You cannot take umbrage under such things and get away this.”

While it is encouraging to see such swift action in this matter from the BBMP joint commissioner,  a concerned south Bangalore resident added that this has become a common factor now. “In our street alone three trees were cut on the footpath even while houses were just being renovated and encroached upon as personal parking space for the residents of the plot. For some reason they seem to assume ownership of the footpath along with their plot and any tree there is doomed. They still do not consider tree cutting a crime” while hoping the strict action in RR Nagar would not be a single incident and more such crimes against trees will be dealt with similarly.

A lot of people who would like to report such incidents, do not do so because of not having clarity on the process. An easier method of reporting might help the citizens help BBMP in identifying the culprits and taking action faster, saving more trees in the process.

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