On the day of the inauguration of the tree festival in Thane, an activist lodged a complaint with the Vartak Nagar police station claiming that a tree was chopped down in front of the venue. According to the activist, despite a stay order from the Bombay High Court and the green tribunal’s order against the Thane Municipal Corporation, there has been mindless cutting of trees.
The Thane civic body has been organising the tree exhibition, Vrukshavalli, at Raymond’s gate in Vartak Nagar, to improve the city’s green cover. However, on the first day of the exhibition, activists from the Thane Matdata Jagran Manch (TMJM) spotted some men cutting off branches of a Banyan tree, said the complaint to the Thane police.
“Our volunteer Dilip Aloni saw the men chopping off the branches and clicked pictures before approaching them to get their identities. He was told they were TMC workers and even the vehicle had the TMC sticker,” alleged Rohit Joshi, an activist of TMJM.
However, when Aloni asked them for a written permission, they were unable to show it and left after finishing only half the work. “The tree anyway belongs to the Ficus family, which are not to be destructed under a 2006 order of the High Court. Then there is a stay by the High Court to cut trees in Thane without permission from the tree authority. The TMC has already been rebuked by the green tribunal, on my plea, but they don’t seem to learn their lessons,” said Pradeep Indulkar, another activist who had filed a case against the civic body before the green tribunal over hapless cutting of trees.
He said: “It is ironical that on one hand the corporation is encouraging and exhibiting young plants, and on other hand destructing the old, tall and strong trees. The intention of the body and the authorities are questionable.”
TMC spokesperson Sandeep Malwi said: “I will have to check with Kedar Patil from the tree authority to understand the situation.”