The Mumbai Police has issued instructions to its rank and file to increase deployment on the Western and Eastern Express Highways to ensure trees planted alongside the carriageway are not chopped down for Holika Dahan. On the eve of Holi, typically after sunset, a pyre is lit signifying Holika Dahan — the victory of good over evil.
A senior Mumbai police officer said on Thursday, “Unlike rural areas where shrubs are used, in Mumbai, due to lack of vegetation, it has been found that trees are felled illegally to light a pyre. We have sent instructions to police stations to ensure no trees are harmed.”
The instructions include bandobast on the two highways and approaching housing societies to inform them they would be find Rs 1,000-5,000 if they fell trees.
Even the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s Tree Authority monitors such incidents, sources said. According to the provisions of section 21 of the Protection of Maharashtra (Civil Areas) Tree Protection and Protection Act, 1975, it is a crime to cut or break any tree without prior permission from the Forest Authority.
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