Rest of Asia

India: Maharashtra to give heritage tag to trees that are over 50 years old

Web Report/Mumbai
Filed on June 11, 2021 | Last updated on June 11, 2021 at 11.25 am
Photo: PTI

The move follows the transfer of the entire task of protecting trees from the urban development department to the environment and climate change department.

Trees that are over 50 years old will get the ‘heritage’ tag in Maharashtra and felling of these trees without planting saplings corresponding to their age will attract a penalty of up to Rs100,000 (about Dh5,000).

The Maharashtra cabinet on Thursday introduced the concept of ‘heritage trees’ by amending the law and also authorised the setting up of a tree authority to protect them.c

“This is a very good decision to conserve and protect trees,” Manisha Patankar Mhaiskar, the principal environment secretary told the media. “If a 100-year-old tree is hacked, 100 new saplings will have to be planted at the same site or at a public space.” The hectic construction activity in Mumbai, including the development of metro rail corridors has resulted in massive felling of heritage trees.

According to Zoru Bhathena, an environmentalist who campaigned against the decision to hack trees at the Aarey colony for the construction of a metro rail car shed, described it as “really great proposals” by the government. “But we hope they are implemented,” he said. “Such laws have remained only on paper. Genuine implementation is the key to seeing a greener city.’’

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