The UT sports department has ordered an inquiry into the axing of 20 trees — Pipal, Ashoka, Ficus and Kasia — at the Sukhna Lake Club in Sector 1 and has transferred the general manager. The trees, planted more than 20 years ago, were axed two weeks back. The sports department of the UT administration manages the club.
Sources said the then general manager Naib Singh, who was transferred to the Sports Complex in Sector 7, ordered pruning of trees around the swimming pool, but the staff actually axed them. Five of the trees were simply uprooted.
When contacted, Naib was evasive and told HT that he was not responsible for the axing and blamed manager Sheeshpal. He also claimed that termites had infested the trees. These had now been replaced with palm trees, he claimed.
UT administration permission needed
The law on the axing of trees is clear that the UT administration has to give written permission before a tree can be felled. In this case, no such permission was taken.
According to the Chandigarh Trees Preservation Order, 1952, “Nobody is allowed cutting, topping, lopping or willful destruction of trees in the UT without the written permission of the administration. If any such case comes to notice, appropriate penal action for prosecution of the offenders shall be initiated under the Chandigarh Trees Preservation Order, 1952.”
Director, sports, UT administration, Karnail Singh, said, “I have asked joint director, sports, Mahinder Singh to probe the matter and submit a report. On perusal of the report, strict action will be taken against those found guilty of axing the trees.”
Remains of trees thrown in village
HT has learnt that the remains of the trees have been thrown at a defunct water treatment plant near the Archery Coaching Centre. Some parts of the trees were also disposed of near the Satsang Bhawan in Kaimbala village.
In an attempt at damage control, tiles have also been affixed at the spots where the trees once took root. Palm trees have also been planted.