Nagpur: Thursday proved to be a bad day for trees and green activists, as four trees were chopped indiscriminately, without permission of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s garden department. A huge mango tree was cut by the railways.
A huge mango tree in the premises of the Central Railway’s Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) office was pruned excessively on Thursday morning. Railway officials had ordered the trimming of the tree “since its branches were intruding into the DRM office porch”.
However, the railways did not take the mandatory permission from NMC, nor did they supervise the task of trimming the tree. Consequently, the tree was pruned a lot more than required, probably to ensure the cutting contractors got more wood.
“If we had not reached the spot in time, they would have shorn the tree of all its branches. They took away a lot of wood,” said Kaustav Chatterjee of Green Vigil. Even a railway official said on condition of anonymity that the tree was not supposed to be pruned so much. Carelessness in supervision by their engineering department led to the tree suffering such damage, he said.
However, the railway staff claimed they were under no obligation to seek permission from the local civic body to prune trees in its premises. “According to the railway engineering manual we are not required to take permission to cut or trim trees in railway premises,” said PD Patil, PRO, Central Railway, Nagpur.
RailNews tried to call garden superintendent NB Shrikhande to get his view, but he did not take the calls. Another garden department staffer said that even the railways are required to take its permission. In fact, he pointed out, for its offices inside the city limits even the forest department is obliged to take permission to cut or prune trees.
In another case, three trees opposite VCA, Sadar, now stand completely bald, with only a slender stem and a few leafless garishly cut branches standing testimony to their existence. Tree activist Shrikant Deshpande was passing by the road on Thursday morning when he noticed the chopped trees, but couldn’t find the culprits.
“They might have been chopped off the trees in the night since none of the street side vendors could tell me when it happened. I suspect they were cut off because they obstructed the view of two huge billboards near them,” said Deshpande.
The garden department of NMC had no clue about either of the incidents since prior permission was not sought from them.