Hyderabad: Chilkur forest officials, on 21 February, fined a man for cutting down a tree without taking permission from the forest department. Srinivas Reddy was asked to pay a fine of Rs. 18,150 after he cut down a tree that was allegedly blocking the entrance to his home in Alkapur Township.
Mr Reddy, who is building a commercial building in Road No. 4 of Alkapur Township, cut an old tree which according to him was blocking the entrance to his building. Forest range officer A. Srikanth, said, “The fine is not based on the number of trees cut. It is based on the age of the tree and the space it occupies. Space is measured in square meters. If anybody cuts a tree, it is compulsory that they seek permission from the forest department.”
Mr Reddy has paid the fine to the officials. Mr Srikanth said, “There are two more trees which he (Reddy) wants to cut, but we will not let him cut the tree without permission.”
Kajal Maheshwari, an environmentalist, said, “Fines are being imposed so often in Hyderabad these days. But what is the benefit for the citizens? Such trees cannot be replaced with saplings. The tree would have provided us with oxygen for 100 more years if it had not been cut. It is not just the government’s fault, even people are unaware of the harmful effects of cutting a tree. Like we have Aadhar cards, trees, especially trees which are more than 15 years old, should be registered under the government and should not be cut by anyone, neither by the government nor by the people.”
Last year in December, a Pride Honda showroom was fined Rs. 104,160 for cutting five trees stating that the trees were blocking the view of their showroom. The showroom owner fell five fully grown trees within one hour.