Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court directed the state government to choose experts from science, technology and other fields to form a committee to look into possibilities of saving trees that are proposed to be felled.
The committee’s priority should be to save trees and not fell them, it said. The case that the court was hearing also pertains to felling of trees for Namma Metro project.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Dattatraya and another seeking directions to state departments to discharge their duties adhering to the Preservation of Trees Act, and to instruct the Bengaluru Urban District Tree Authority to hold meetings every three months as per the Act and to have the Authority conduct comprehensive census of trees every five years and publish the results in the website of Karnataka Forest Department.
It further sought directions to the authority and state government to ensure planting of enough trees in the city’s public lands like parks and lake premises and to strike down Section 8 (3)(vii) of the Preservation of Trees Act, 1976, declaring it as unconstitutional.
“Make sure that public notice is issued for all trees to be cut for public purposes and try to keep felling of the tree as the last option after considering means to save it. Instruct authorities to make sure tree felling permissions are not issued in cases where the idea seems to be to circumvent public hearing; and to ensure that tree-felling permissions are published on the website of the Karnataka Forest Department for at least 15 days, only after which the applicant can proceed to fell the trees,” the petition states.
Further it seeks to instruct authorities to ensure that whenever permission is granted to fell a tree, effort should be to first transplant it, and if not possible, to compensate by planting a new tree. Instruct the state government to appoint Tree Officers in an impartial manner to ensure their independence and impartiality, the petition stated....