Public outrage as huge trees felled in city
Even as the State government is encouraging citizens to increase green cover through Haritha Haram, around five huge trees were chopped off near old passport office building at Asifnagar in Mehdipatnam road.
• Five huge trees were chopped off near old passport office building at Asifnagar
• Forest department penalises offenders, but green activists want sterner measures
Asifnagar: Even as the State government is encouraging citizens to increase green cover through Haritha Haram, around five huge trees were chopped off near old passport office building at Asifnagar in Mehdipatnam road.
This triggered outcry from green activists who later took up the matter with the forest officials prompting them to impose huge fine on the persons behind the act.
According to the activists, these huge trees which were chopped off were more than 50-year-old and it was cut down without the permission by Forest authorities inside a compound of private property. In the entire area these were the only trees which provided some relief from pollution to the residents with huge population density.
"These trees were chopped now can we afford this in times of existential crisis and climate degradation?" asked Dr Lubna Sarwath, environmental activist and spokesperson, Socialist Party (India).
Speaking to The Hans India, Dr Sarwath said she has given a representation to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests regarding the felled trees which were about 50 years old.
Following her representation, the forest authorities visited the spot and fined the hefty amount for the cutting of the trees without permission. "Around five trees were felled and remaining are being cut off, I urged the forest authorities to save remaining trees," she added.
According to WALTA (Water, Land and Tree) Act, there should be no chopping off of trees in city without any permission of WALTA authorities. She questioned if any meeting was convened about it. "After the trees were chopped off, the forest authorities just fine them with a hefty amount.
This is not a solution. Penalty does not give Asifnagar residents the carbon sink work and aesthetic appeal and cooling effect of the huge 5 trees that Asifnagar has lost now.
According to the forest department, builders should apply for permission for felling of remaining trees. Would you give permission for remaining 5 trees or would DFO Hyderabad adopt the trees and barricade them from felling?" she asked the officials who visited the spot.
In her representation to the forest officials, the social activist pointed out and put forth a series of questions "Were these trees that are more than 50 years old not inventoried through tree population census? Do we not have a geo-tagged tree list for Hyderabad district, ward-wise and mandal-wise, and for whole Hyderabad district? Was this geo-tagged tree inventory not seeded with TSIIC and building permission and registration bodies, along with GHMC, so that when a building permission application is perused, the information of tree cover is spontaneously populated in data and tree population can be protected."
According to sources, this land which once belonged to the Editor of Rehnuma-e-Deccan, Syed Vicaruddin and housed the office of one of the oldest dailies of city, was sold off to another organization recently. As part of the construction activity, the new owners decided to cut off these trees without knowledge of the forest officials, prompting them to slap a hefty amount.