Monday, 28 August 2017

Permission for tree felling set to become easier

28/08/2017

PUNE: It will be easier to receive permission for tree cutting as the state government has put restrictions on the Tree Authority to inspect the site where trees have to be felled for constructions or other purposes.

The Maharashtra (urban areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, provides for permission for tree felling from the civic bodies' Tree Authority and inspection of trees before granting of permission for tree felling. In view of the Ease of Doing Business Assessment, 2017 reforms, the state government has issued a directive to facilitate tree felling permission, saying that a particular inspector shall not inspect the same establishment twice.

This will help in cutting down trees for projects without any delay, said government officials. "For inspection of trees before granting tree felling permission, the authority will ensure that while according permission the same inspector shall not inspect the same establishment twice consecutively," states the notification issued by the state urban development department. The notification added that this will avoid delay and bring uniformity in the process of site inspection for tree felling permission.

"The aim of Tree Authority in the municipal corporation is to make better provision for trees in urban areas by regulating felling of trees and providing for planting of adequate number of new trees in those areas. The authority consists of 5 to 15 members and commissioner of the corporation is the president of Tree Authority. There are many issues involved with regards to permission for tree felling and many times corruption charges have been levelled against members who halt tree cutting and seek favour in terms of money and other forms," said a senior civic official.

Sources in the state urban development department said that the Chief Minister's Office has been receiving complaints from developers and business groups that they had to halt work as Tree Authority members in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Mumbai were not issuing tree cutting permissions and wanted repeated inspections to pressurize them.

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