Taking a leaf out of Mayor Sunil Prabhu’s book to save the environmental resources during Holi, the BMC has decided to appeal to citizens not to fell trees for celebrations during the festival. Those found guilty
will be prosecuted under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, officials said. Earlier, Prabhu had requested the public to limit usage of water during Holi, especially since there is a drought in the state.
Think before you hack: Children in Bandra collect dried wood on Thursday, often used during Holi celebrations. The BMC has made an appeal against illegal cutting of trees and plans to draft a circular on the possible actions that may be taken against people chopping trees during Holi. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
The BMC is in charge of trees planted alongside city roads. Both the police and the civic authorities have rights to prosecute the guilty, but the BMC has repeatedly failed to follow its own diktat in the last few years of punishing offenders for chopping trees.
Joint Commissioner S S Shinde, in-charge of trees, said, “There is a collective appeal to save the environment by not wasting water or using chemical colours. The same applies to illegally cutting trees. It is a criminal offence and if someone is found guilty, a case will be registered against them.”
But the BMC has not been able to take any serious action against those involved in hacking trees over the last few years. Asked how many cases have been related to the offence filed in the past, Shinde said, “This is routine work. We do not have a consolidated figure as this is done at the ward level.”
Said a tree officer, “No FIRs have been filed so far this year, as no complaints have been received by our officers yet.”
Tree committee member and BMC corporator Yashodhar Phanse said, “Cutting trees is an offence and if someone is found guilty, the police has the power to take action against them. Such cases are on the rise during Holi.”
The city administration also plans to draft a circular on the possible actions that may be taken against people axing trees during Holi.