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Say no to Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act Amendment - Petitions

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Unless tree felling is restricted, our green cover may disappear through greed and ignorance. The GoK enacted the KPTA, 1976, which made permission from the Forest Dept mandatory for felling trees.

According to the Trees Act, trees may only be felled with prior permission of the Forest Dept which has the duty and liability to preserve and protect trees. Anyone (including officials of govt/civic bodies) is subject to criminal prosecution for felling a tree without the required permission.

This requirement of official permission has prevented large scale felling of trees, and has also restrained people and officials from unnecessarily felling trees owing to fear of criminal prosecution. Thus the KPTA thus put a brake on tree felling and helped protect our green cover.

Almost all the 30 species (many major fruit trees) now included for exemption in addition to the earlier 11 constitute the major tree wealth of both rural and urban Karnataka. It'll/It'd devastate bird life and spread pests.

It unfortunately seems like the Forest Depart which is the official and public protector of trees is encouraging reckless tree felling. No tree planting programme can ever compensate the loss of existing large and old trees. 

While this move to expand the exemption list could amount to dereliction of duty by the Forest Dept at the general cost of the State and the environment, it is also a move that belies rationale and gives rise to a range of suspicions about the motives involved.

Today as our/Karnataka State is losing its tree cover and the effects of climate change connected with decimation of tree cover are becoming apparent, there is need to place more restrictions on tree felling rather than expand the exemption list of trees that may be freely felled.

The proposed removal of the restriction on 30 more common species of trees will hasten mindless killing of trees. So, the amendment needs to be opposed by all right-thinking people. The Tree Act shud in fact b further strengthened and made more stringent to protect the Tree Wealth.

Petitions updated on Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 06:30 hrs

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/no-amendment-to-preservation-of-trees-act

http://www.petitiononline.com/treesact/

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Proposed amendment to KPT Act opposed The Hindu May 21 2010

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Proposed amendment to KPT Act opposed The Hindu, Friday, May 21, 2010

http://www.hindu.com/2010/05/21/stories/2010052159790300.htm 

Protest to be staged today in front of Aranya Bhavan

MYSORE: The Government's decision to add 30 more species to the list of trees exempted from permission for felling has invited flak from non-governmental organisations and environmentalists.

The Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has organised a protest on Friday against the proposed amendment to the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976, including these trees. The protesters will assemble at 4 p.m. outside the Aranya Bhavan at Ashokapuram and submit a memorandum opposing the proposed amendment.

In a release, parishat president Maj. Gen. Sudhir Vombatkere (Retd.) said, "Acknowledging the importance of trees to mankind and realising that unless tree-felling was regulated, the green cover would disappear because of greed and ignorance, the State Government tabled the Act, which made it mandatory for all tree-felling to be authorised by the Forest Department. At that time, only 11 species of trees were exempted from this requirement. Now, the Government is considering an amendment to the Act, which will add 30 more species to the list of exemptions."

Meanwhile, the Environmental Support Group (ESG), in a release, expressed shock that such a proposal had been formulated in the International Year of Biodiversity. "The proposed expansion list includes banyan ( Ficus benghalensis), 'arali' ( Ficus religiosa), 'goni' ( Ficus mysorensis), 'atthi' ( Ficus racemosa) and three types of 'basari'.

The removal of ficus trees will devastate bird life and thus aid the spread of pests. The exemption list also includes major fruit trees such as mango, jack, sapota, lime and tamarind in addition to neem, honge ( Pongamia pinnata), 'sissoo' (Dalbergia sissoo) amongst others which are an inextricable part of the ecological and cultural landscape of the region.

The ESG pointed out that when rapid urbanisation, mining, infrastructure development and degradation of land were causing widespread loss of vegetation, the Government was expected to take steps to restrict tree-felling, increase protection measures and aggressively promote tree-planting drives.

"Instead, the proposed amendment makes it easy to fell trees. It must be noted that the trees proposed to be exempted from the protection of the Act include some of the most valuable species that support livelihoods of thousands of families that depend on their produce. These are also the trees that are found in our cities beside roads, in parks, gardens and open spaces. The proposed amendment will be a free licence to civic authorities, infrastructure developers, timber contractors and miners to fell these trees. The result will surely be devastating to our local and regional environments."

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Proposal to amend Tree Preservation Act put on hold - The Hindu

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Proposal to amend Tree Preservation Act put on hold The Hindu Saturday, May 23, 2010

http://www.hindu.com/2010/05/22/stories/2010052263990900.htm 

The amendment allows felling of certain varieties of trees without Forest Department permission

Various groups stage protest against the proposed amendment

BANGALORE: The State Government has put on hold the proposal to amend the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act - 1976 to provide for felling of certain varieties of trees without taking permission from the Forest Department.

Announcing this at a press conference in Bangalore on Friday, Western Ghats Bio-diversity Task Force Chairman Ananth Hegde Ashisara said the next course of action in this regard would be decided after consulting environment experts. The task force would organise such a consultation in about 15 days.

He explained that as per the provision of the above Act, land owners had to take permission from the forest department to fell trees even on their own land. Only a few common tree varieties had been kept out of this norm.

But farmers had been demanding that such relaxation should be extended to some more varieties of trees. Following this, the Forest Department had constituted a committee to look into the issue. This committee had recommended that such relaxation could be provided to several tree varieties including mango, jackfruit, cotton and banyan. After this, the Forest Department had forwarded a proposal to the government to amend the Act.

However, some environmental activists had taken exception to this while expressing fear that such relaxation of norms may lead to large-scale felling of trees. Following this, Mr. Ashisara had met the Principal Secretary to the Forest and Environment Department and convinced the official about the need to put such a proposal on hold, he said.

Protest

People from different civil society groups staged a demonstration against the proposed amendment to the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976 in front of Aranya Bhavan here on Friday.

Members of Environment Support Group (ESG), Hasiru Usiru, Citizens Voluntary Initiative for the City (CIVIC), who were among the demonstrators, assembled at the venue holding hand-drawn posters with slogans such as, "Axe the amendment, not the trees", "protect bio diversity", and other pro-environment slogans. A memorandum taking serious objection to the exemption given to 30 species of trees in the proposed amendment to the Act was submitted to the Forest department officials.

Leo Saldanha, ESG Coordinator, claimed that the majority of trees in the city belonged to the species in the proposed amendment. He said that if the amendment was passed it would make it easy for any one to fell trees without any regulations from the forest department. Kathyayini Chamaraj, executive trustee of CIVIC, said, "The proposed amendment is a war against trees." She said that no "true Bangalorean" would tolerate the loss of their trees.

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Govt stays Tree Act dilution proposal Deccan Herald May 22

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Govt stays Tree Act dilution proposal Deccan Herald Saturday, May 23, 2010

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/70887/govt-stays-tree-act-dilution.html

Bangalore, May 21, DHNS

The State government has stayed implementation of a recommendation by a committee of forest department officials to permit felling of 42 variety of trees without prior permission.

The committee in its report had suggested amendment to the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act (KPT) - 1976 to bring 42 different species of trees including several ficus species, rubber, yellow bamboo, mango, guava, jack fruit, sapota, cashew among others, from the ambit of the Act.

"The proposal has now been stayed by the State government. The recommendation will now be studied and discussed in detail by environmentalists before taking a final decision," Western Ghats Task Force Chairman Ananth Hegde Ashisar told reporters in Bangalore on Friday.

The KTP Act allowed only a few species like silver oak, coconut and eucalyptus felled without permission.

Feeling of 42 more species would not have required prior permission of the forest department if the amendment to the legislation had been passed.

Forest officials had justified their decision stating that it was done on request by farmer groups. Ashisar said a meeting of environmentalists would be convened within two weeks.

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CMO's 03-04 responses to KPT Act amendment till date

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Sl No
Subject
Date
From
To
Cc
Original Message Sent Date
01)
Fwd: Say no to Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act Amendment - Petitions
Sat, 22 May, 2010 11:16 AM
Chief Minister of Karnataka
Principal Secretary Forest Ecology & Environment
Syed Tanveeruddin
Thu, May 20, 2010 4:46 pm
02)
Fwd: Amendment to Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act opposed - DH, May 22
01) Sat, 22 May, 2010 11:42 AM
 
02) Sat, 22 May, 2010 1:54 PM
Chief Minister of Karnataka
 
 
Twice / For the second time.
Principal Secretary Forest Ecology & Environment
Syed Tanveeruddin
Sat, May 22, 2010 10:51 am
03)
Fwd: More trees to come under legal felling - TOI Mysore May 22
Sat, 22 May, 2010 2:30 PM
Chief Minister of Karnataka
Deputy Commissioner Mysore
Syed Tanveeruddin
 Sat, May 22, 2010 2:08 pm



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