With the proposed amendment to the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act of 1976 inviting strident opposition from green activists, the Karnataka government on Wednesday withdrew the bill.
The amendment, introduced earlier this month, exempted permission for axing around 50 species of trees. This had raised concern among environmentalists and civic groups, which feared the move was a threat to tree cover in the city.
Forest officials clarified that the amendment was applicable only to trees on lands owned by farmers, and was introduced following demands ting trees in nearby forests by showing the Rights Tenancy and Crops of a local farmer. Such gross misuse will affect the environment and forest cover of the state. Hence, the decision to withdraw the bill,” the minister said.
Jayachandra added that the existing Act allows farmers to cut 25 species of trees on their farmlands, and this will continue.
The proposed amendment to the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act of 1976 had earned the wrath of environmentalists and civil groups. On Monday, green activists had launched a campaign urging the government to withdraw the bill.
Bengaluru tree doctor Vijay Nishanth and Dharwad-based environmentalist Lingaraju Niduvani met former JD(S) minister Basavaraj Horatti, requesting him to raise the issue in the legislative council.
Some activists had launched an online petition — ‘Don’t change the Karnataka Tree Protection Act’ —addressed to chief minister Siddaramaiah and Bengaluru development minister KJ George.
Retired forest officer SG Neginhal told TOI that irrespective of the content of the amendment, it is better to leave Bengaluru city and other urban centres, with shrinking green cover, out of the proposal. “Similarly, coffee plantations, groves and fruit-bearing trees should not be allowed to be chopped easily,” he added.
Former principal chief conservator of forests Sadashivaiah said, “Politicians and groups with vested interests can turn the amendment for their greed. The government should be careful while making such moves pertaining to trees,” he added.
This is an unedited news that first appeared on indiatimes.com