'Include citizens in Tree Court'

They urged in unison Conservator of Forests (Mysore Circle) Ravi to convey their feelings to the State Government.They were participating in the meeting convened by Karnataka Forest Department to elicit opinion from citizens regarding amendment to the Karnataka State Tree Protection Act, and also regarding the recently constituted Tree Authority.
Soon after the meeting began, they charged that the tree authority has been formed mainly to fell trees and not for its conservation. No member of any NGO or citizen has been included in the authority. While it is headed by mayor and members include deputy conservator of forests, commissioner of Mysore City Corporation, deputy director of Department of Horticulture and member nominated by mayor. Members of the authority are for cutting trees and not conserving them.

All of them wanted CF Ravi to convey their feelings to the government and re-constitute the authority by including members from NGOs or citizens.The conservator of forests informed the meeting that a number of applications seeking permission to cut trees are pending before the department. With the constitution of tree authority, it would become easy for the department to clear the applications. Even though he is conservator of forests, he did not have powers to stop or allow tree cutting as it has to be decided by an authority.

Convener of Association of Informed and Concerned Citizens of Mysore (ACICM) M Lakshmana pointed out that the State government is planning to amend the State Tree Protection Act to bring another 30 species of trees under the act.

If that comes into effect the tree authority would become null and void. Seeing the newly constituted tree authority there is no guarantee of protection of trees in the city.
He said Mysore was once known as a city of gardens with thousands of trees lining the roads of the city. Over the years, trees have been axed in the name of development.
The number of dwindling day by day and it is indeed a dangerous trend. The city would face serious problems if trees are not protected, he warned.

Former director of Central Food Technology Research Institute, Dr HAB Parpia said it was a wrong assumption that Mysore is a garden city. The authorities concerned have to prepare a master plan to develop Mysore on the lines of Singapore as the latter has been carved inside a park. Need of the hour was to constitute a squad comprising officials of forest department and members of NGOs to verify each and every application submitted to the department seeking permission to cut trees. There are hardly a few trees in Infosys campus and department should request them to grow more trees there.
H R Bapu Satyanarayan, convener of Mysore Grahakara Parishat opined that trees should not be cut to pave way for road widening as it causes more accidents. Most of the accidents take place on roads which are very wide and drivers tend to go in full throttle without understanding danger involved in it.

When the CF said that the department is planning to take up massive planting of saplings, the participating members demanded that permission to cut trees should not be given till they grow.

He said the Reserve Bank of India has come forward to pant sandalwood saplings on its 100 acres campus and has requested the forest department to supply saplings free of cost. The cost will be borne by the RBI,  he added.

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