CM Fadnavis seeks detailed report over illegal razing of 500 trees at Pune’s Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has sought a detailed report over the alleged illegal felling of over 500 trees at the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
Hindustan Times on March 16, 2018 had highlighted the issue with a series of reports (‘Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: 500 of 592 trees illegally felled).
Senior forest officials from Pune said that the chief minister has taken cognisance of the issue and has ordered immediate action. “We have been at the forefront, whenever the issue was raised. We will look into the matter further and submit the report to the chief minister at the earliest,” said Vivek Khandekar, chief conservator, forest department, Pune.
Vasant Patil, tree officer of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), said, “We have already given a notice to the Panchshil Group under Section 8 of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 and have asked for a reply within 15 days. We will update our higher authorities about the action taken till now. We will follow the issue aggressively.”
According senior officials, the chief minister has taken serious view of the felling of 500 full grown trees along the Dr Salim Ali Bird sanctuary situated on the banks of the Mula-Mutha river and has asked for immediate action from the concerned department.
Alleged illegal razing of 500 trees at the natural bird sanctuary on the Mula-Mutha riverbank in Yerawada had highlighted the state of its neglect by the civic authorities. A member of the PMC tree authority committee had earlier alleged that Panchshil Group had violated environmental norms by felling more than 500 trees out of the standing 592 trees of various species in the property owned by the group, without seeking permission from the authorities.
The area, where the construction is currently taking place, was previously earmarked as reserved land under the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in the 1987 Development Plan (DP) of PMC. However, the state government recently changed the reservation and the land was converted into a residential zone in the new DP.
Tree Committee member Manoj Pachpute said that an official survey which was carried out nine months earlier clearly states that there were a total of 592 trees in the property owned by the Panchshil Group.
“However, during the course of construction, over 500 trees were razed. The process of cutting down trees was started by the developer just when modifications in the DP were being considered,” said Pachpute
On Monday, city MP and NCP leader Vandana Chavan wrote to the chief minister seeking an inquiry into the issue had demanded the resignation of the officer who was on duty at the time when the trees were illegally razed.
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