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Expert opinion taken before felling trees: Maha govt, civic bodies tell HC

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The was today informed by the government and other authorities that civic chiefs were advised by experts while processing applications for of trees.

The authorities, and Thane Municipal Corporation, were responding to query posed by a division bench of justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla yesterday.

The bench had asked them if the commissioners took the opinion of experts before passing orders to fell trees.

As per a recent amendment to the (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, any proposal to cut less than 25 trees could be placed before the civic body concerned.

Proposals to fell more than 25 trees would be sent to the

The court was hearing a petition filed by activist challenging the validity of an amendment to the act that conferred special powers upon the to decide proposals seeking permission to remove, fell or transplant up to 25 trees.

The petition had sought a stay on the amendment.

"The commissioners have in-house experts from the field, including those from the civic body's garden department, to help them while processing such applications," told the court.

Government S U told the court that the amendment provided for a procedure which was to be followed by the

"It is not that the commissioner gets an application and decides it on his own. The application is forwarded to the garden department first which prepares a report after carrying out an inspection," he said.

The report is then placed before the for consideration and decision, he added.

Sakhare told the court that once a decision was taken on an application, the same would be uploaded on the website for a period of seven days in case any person wanted to challenge it.

The court, however, opined that granting a blanket stay on the amendment would not be practically viable as then all applications seeking permission to fell trees would have to be heard and decided by the courts.

The court posted the matter for further hearing tomorrow.

The petition had complained that tree cutting proposals were being split as the was only looked into proposals that concern more than 25 trees.

According to the petition, in January itself 49 proposals for cutting 806 trees were submitted to the commissioner.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 17 2018. 19:50 IST