BENGALURU: The Bangalore Environment Trust and one Dattatreya T Devare have moved High Court seeking directions to the state government for proper implementation of the rules and regulations to save trees in the city.
Hearing the public interest litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice S G Pandit asked the government advocate to get instructions from the government on the issue. The petitioners have made the Forest Department, BBMP, Tree Authority, BMRCL and BESCOM as respondents in the petition.
They prayed to the court to direct the state government to carry out and complete a comprehensive census of the existing trees in Bengaluru within a period of six months, and publish it in a manner that is easily accessible to the public, including on the website of the Forest Department.
“Despite the specific objective of the legislature with the Tree Act being to preserve trees, the very authorities constituted under the Tree Act have, by way of their negligence and dereliction, actually facilitated the very damage to the tree cover that they were constituted to prevent. No discretion whatsoever is being used by them to conserve trees and prevent rampant felling, and nearly all applications to fell trees are allowed mechanically,” the petitioners claimed.
The petitioners said rampant felling of trees has resulted in a rapid loss of green cover, water scarcity, increase in temperatures and pollution.
These acts have resulted in a severe deterioration of the quality of life of the citizens of Bengaluru, a severe reduction in the health of its citizens and a severe degradation of the environment of the city.
Permission for axing
According to the petitioner, from April 1, 2012, to August 31, 2015, a total of 2,243 applications were reported to have been received from private citizens/organisations for felling of trees, while 5,952 were from government agencies. A total of 2,185 of 2,243 (97.41%) of the private applications were allowed, while 5,936 of 5,952 (99.73%) government applications were allowed. Therefore, out of a total of 8,195 applications received, only 74 (0.9%) were rejected.