Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding policy for cutting of trees and protection of trees, Punjab, 28/07/2023
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Kuldeep Singh Khaira & Others Vs State of Punjab & Others dated 28/07/2023. The matter related to violation of Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 and Article 51A of the Constitution of India by cutting the trees and not taking action by the state authorities.
The matter was taken up by the Tribunal and a report was called from a joint committee consisting Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (HoFF), Punjab, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar. In its reply it was submitted that there is no legal provision or any mechanism to penalize the offenders involved in illicit felling/lopping/pruning of trees. Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana had reported the incident to police for taking action. Felling of trees was in Punjab Agriculture University premises where trees were auctioned by an Estate Officer and trees of Eucalyptus, Poplar, Siris and Shisham have been cut, the report added. Committee has observed that except for a few 8 odd trees of other species all remaining trees were of Eucalyptus and Poplar species.
Apart from this, 410 new trees have been planted on the main campus and are being maintained. Further, there is proposal to plant around 120 (Jaccarnda, Delonix, Cassia, Sterculia, Lagerstroemia, Melia, Plumaria, Saraca) trees of ornamental value in the coming season.
The Committee has recommended that the Forest Department should be directed to formulate the policy and guidelines for such activities.
Accordingly, the NGT directed the Chief Secretary, Punjab to issue a proper instruction to Forest Department to formulate the policy of such incidents and the modalities may be adopted from Tree Protection Act of Delhi in addition to some other modifications required and thought by the authorities concerned. In the meanwhile, the Forest Department shall take appropriate action with regard to such incidents and proper remedial measures would be taken for cutting of trees and protection of trees. Policies and guidelines so formulated be submitted to this Tribunal within three months, the order said.