BENGALURU: The BBMP forest cell has sent out a strong message to realtors and builders by getting three persons arrested and imposing a fine of Rs 40 lakh for allegedly illegally felling 303 trees to construct multi-storeyed buildings.
According to forest cell officials, Casa Grand Lotus Pvt Ltd, a real estate company that purchased 17.12 acres of land, had cut 303 trees to make space for the buildings. Though some species of trees are exempt from permission, the Palike still decided to take strict action against the company for not following the rules. Senthil and Bhaskar from the real estate company, and Puttaswamy, a tree-cutting contractor, were arrested. They secured bail later.
DCF, BBMP, BLG Swamy, said his office received a complaint on January 4 that at Survey Number 18 at Mallasandra village of Hemmigepura ward in Bengaluru South taluk, big trees were being chopped and loaded into trucks. An Assistant Conservator of Forests along with a team was rushed to the spot.
“Company officials involved in the alleged tree cutting failed to give a satisfactory reply and did not produce any documents, including a prior permission. A case under the Tree Preservation Act was registered against them and the vendor, who was loading the logs into trucks. The BBMP Forest Cell also collected Rs 40 lakh penalty and ordered the company to plant 1:20 tree saplings for not following the BBMP and Forest Act rules,” Swamy said.
“A tree committee has been set up on the directions of the High Court. If a project requires cutting over 50 trees, it has to be brought to the notice of the BBMP Tree Committee. If not, persons involved in tree cutting will be arrested under the Tree Preservation Act,” said another officer.