After nailing of trees for fixing decorative lights, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is once again hitting the headlines for wrong reasons. Dhantoli Police have registered an FIR against NMC’s Garden Department officials and a firm for chopping four full-grown trees for renovation of Ajni Clock Tower for the upcoming C-20 meeting in city.
Ironically, three of 14 working groups for the Civil-20 or C-20 meeting scheduled to be held in city from March 20 to March 22 are: Integrated Holistic Health: Mind, Body, and Environment; Sustainable & Resilient Communities: Climate, Environment and Net Zero Targets; and Lifestyle for Environment. While the city is adorning a beautiful look as part of preparing for hosting the prestigious meeting, Dhantoli Police registering an FIR against the civic body’s Garden Superintendent and others reflects poorly on civic administration’s stand regarding environment. Dhantoli Police registered an FIR against Amol Chourpagar, NMC’s Garden Superintendent; Anup Badebuche, Garden Supervisor; and Akshay Enterprises for cutting off four full-grown trees near Clock Tower at Ajni Square during the renovation work of the Clock Tower.
According to the complainant Sachin Khobragade, former member of Tree Committee, “The Municipal Commissioner had released an order in which he mentioned that the decision of cutting off full-grown tree or heritage trees will be transferred to the State Tree Authority and the local tree committee has no jurisdiction to pass an order in this regard.” However, NMC’s Garden Superintendent granted permission to Akshay Enterprises for cutting three Cassia tree at least five feet above the ground level, and to trim one Neem tree for a clear view of the Clock Tower. The contractor removed all four trees from the roots, alleged Khobragade.
When ‘The Hitavada’ tried to contact the Garden Superintendent for his version, he did not respond to the calls.
Khobragade registered an online complaint on NMC portal against the contractor. But, he alleged, he received a pale response from the Garden Department in this regard. “The Garden Superintendent has no right to allow anyone to fell any full-grown tree as per the newly amended State rule. With the permission in the instant case, he acted against the provisions of the Maharashtra (Urban) Tree Conservation Act 1975,” Khobragade alleged. “In the name of Civil-20 meeting, the civic body is violating the environmental norms and this incident is also a part of the same so-called development. Therefore, the culprits should be punished,” Khobragade demanded.
Khobragade registered a police complaint at Dhantoli Police Station. Accordingly, the police sent notices to Amol Chourpagar and the contractor a couple of times. But, Chourpagar did not respond to the notice. Meanwhile, Dhantoli Police registered an FIR Under Section 21(1) of the Maharashtra (Urban) Tree Conservation Act, 1975; Section 166 and Section 166-A(a) of Indian Penal Code against them. The cops are conducting further investigation in this regard.