Include tree-cutting in Right to Service Act

Considering the fatal incident in Chembur in August, where a 54-year-old Kanchan Nath died after a coconut tree fell on her.

A BJP Corporator from Juhu, Aneesh Makwaney, has moved a notice of motion to include ‘tree cutting and trimming’ under the Right to Service Act. If the service is included, it will make it mandatory for the civic ward to either grant permission for tree cutting/trimming in a stipulated time, or give in writing that the permission is denied.

Considering the fatal incident in Chembur in August, where a 54-year-old Kanchan Nath died after a coconut tree fell on her, Makwaney said, “In Nath’s case, the society had sought permission to cut the coconut tree two months ago, but it was denied by the civic ward’s tree officer. To avoid such fatal incidents and damage of property due to tree falling, if tree cutting/trimming is included under Right to Service Act, it will become mandatory for the ward’s tree officer to either grant permission to cut the tree or deny it by giving an explanation in writing within 14 days”.

However, civic activist and President of Diamond Garden Residents Forum in Chembur, Rajkumar Sharma said, “The concept of including the permissions for tree cutting under Right to Service Act is appreciated. But, I feel that in the case of dangerous trees, if cutting permissions are not given in 14 days, it should be considered a ‘Yes’. This will only reduce the number of unfortunate incidences of big trees falling causing damage not only to property but also human life.”

“But there are high chances of misuse of the service. People who wish to cut a particular tree for their selfish purposes, can influence the tree officer to grant permission for it in spite of the tree being healthy. The concept of including tree cutting under the service act is a good concept, but there should be a stringent watch that no corruption takes place,” added Sharma.The notice of motion will be moved in BMC’s next general body meeting scheduled for September 15.

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