Friday, February 3, 2012


Hyderabad (http://timesofindia) - Hoping to establish itself as an authoritative body, the Tree Protection Committee of Hyderabad has now decided to reject all tree-felling applications placed before it, unless the applicants take up compensatory plantation work in advance. In fact, in its recent meeting held earlier this month, the committee denied permission to five organisations that had approached it with requests to axe as many as 11,907 trees in and around the city. The list includes: Outer Ring Road authorities, South Central Railway, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, National Academy of Agricultural Research Management and Regional Stations for Forage Production and Demonstration. In each of these cases, the committee noted that felling permissions would be granted once the organisations produced proof of an afforestation programme they had taken up to compensate for the loss of green cover.

But while the District Forest Officer (DFO-Hyderabad), who claims that South Central Railway too is in the process of planting 5,000 trees, is confident about the success of the new strategy, several environmentalists in the city are not. Environmentalists in Hyderabad argue that the Tree Protection Committee’s proposal of planting 5,000 trees is unsustainable considering the limited powers that the board has. Another hindrance is the lack of experts on the panel. “How can you even expect it to save our environment? The members neither know how to grow trees and nor are they aware of ways to protect them,” said retired forester Sarvottam Rao.  Afforestation and compensatory plantation are essential tasks and the committee needs to get additional manpower to work more effectively.  “Also, it is only a committee with no authority. Until it is given powers to take disciplinary action the body will continue to remain toothless,” Rao said.

Last month, the Tree Protection Committee of Hyderabad, India designed a new legal rule by which permissions to cut trees would be granted once the applicants exhibit a forestation program they plan to perform as a way of compensatory plantation.  Although the Committee is confident that its ordinance will succeed, some environmentalists claim it is unsustainable due to the Committee lacks of power to take disciplinary action in case its directives are not enforced.

Trees such as mango, nim or banyan have always been planted along the roads to give shelter and shade, their leaves acting as natural air-conditioners.  Beneath their broad canopies generations of travellers, stopping for a rest or a meal from a roadside stall, have found relief from the heat. ... Banwari explains how originally the land is covered with trees, but as the human population increases trees are cleared to make way for cultivation.  However, Vedic culture required that another kind of forest be established in its place. To remove the forest was simply not acceptable. It was the source of natural wealth such as fodder, timber, roots and herbs. Moreover the trees guaranteed the fertility of the soil and purified the air and water.

Ranchor Prime (Śripad Ranchor Dasa) :
“Hinduism & Ecology” Chapter Two: “The World Forest”
Friends of Vrindavan (FOV) - WWF

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