Tree Act being misused fear environmentalists

With the State government giving its nod for amendment to Karnataka Tree Act that allows for 26 species of trees to be cut without prior permission from Forest Department, has resulted in felling of old and huge mango trees in the region.

Some unique varieties of mango trees have been felled in Balehonnur and Narasimharajapaura and environmentalists fear that the varieties will become extinct in the near future. The State government, in its notification, dated March 13 has given permission for felling of mango trees grown on individual land and selling it. In the past, if mango trees were grown on an individual land holding, then one needed to take permission from the forest department.

As market price for the wooden logs were less, the farmers were not interested in felling the trees and were only plucking the mangoes.

Malnad is known for its unique varieties of mangoes like Hole dindu, Appemidi, Dindinamavu, Adakamaavu and Jeerige mavu. These varieties are known for its taste. With the felling of mango trees, these varieties will become extinct, fear environmentalists.

With the amendment to the Act and the government issuing a notification on the same, hundreds of trees grown on the banks of river have been felled. The mango woods are used in plywood industries, manufacturing boats.

RFO K N Rangaswamy said it is true that mango trees are being felled following the amendment to the Act. If any one cuts mango trees grown on government land, then criminal case will be registered against them. Suma Nagesh of Prajaprabhutva Ulisi Andolana Vedike said “the government’s order is pseudo environmentalists policy. The forest officials and timber mafia is hand in glove with each other. Appemidi and Dindina mavu will become a history in the future.”

Bhaskar Rao Ashikodige Heroor said “It was not right on the part of the government to allow felling of mango trees. The dilution of the Act would lead to timber mafia having easy access to trees.  Each variety of mango trees have its own uniqueness and taste. The government should withdraw its notification.” The public feel that hundreds of mango trees have already been felled. The wooden logs are transported to Hubballi and Mangaluru.

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