Civic body to keep watch on trees as Holi approaches
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.