Civic body to keep watch on trees as Holi ap­proaches

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVIMUMBAI - Sang­hami­tra Sengupta sang­hami­tra.sengupta@hin­dus­tan­

The civic body’s gar­den depart­ment will keep a strict vigil on peo­ple who cut branches of trees to get wood for mak­ing the tra­di­tional ho­lika bon­fire.

“We pa­trol the ar­eas with help from the po­lice. We de­ploy our staff in res­i­den­tial ar­eas while the ward of­fi­cers keep a watch on any il­le­gal cut­ting of trees,” said Chan­drakant Tayade, ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, gar­den depart­ment, Navi Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion.

“Any­one caught chop­ping a tree will be handed over to the po­lice, the pun­ish­ment is de­cided by the po­lice, and it can ei­ther be a fine or a jail for a num­ber of days, he added.

Of­fi­cials said cases of tree felling for holi bon­fires have re­duced over the years.

“We have been keep­ing a watch ev­ery year, and peo­ple have be­come more aware about en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues,” said Tayade. As per the records only two such cases were recorded last year. “Ear­lier, peo­ple made big bon­fires for ho­lika, but now it’s not seen any­where. We do not get much com­plaint for chop­ping a tree for holi bon­fires but nev­er­the­less we will be keep­ing out a watch around gar­dens and even in res­i­den­tial ar­eas,” said Prakash Giri, horticulture of­fi­cer from Nerul ward of­fice.

En­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists said the prac­tice should be stopped.

“Prun­ing trees for ho­lika bon­fires not only im­pacts the health of the trees but it even af­fects the en­vi­ron­ment as it causes pol­lu­tion too to a great ex­tent too,” said Ro­hit Sud­hakaran, an en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist and Sea­woods res­i­dent.

“I n our hous­ing so­ci­ety, there is no tree cut­ting or bon­fire dur­ing Holi. Res­i­dents are alert about il­le­gal tree cut­ting. We ap­peal to oth­ers to re­frain from do­ing so and re­quest ev­ery­one to spread the mes­sage,” said Sud­hakaran.

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