A Class 8 boy helped alert the Telangana Forest Department about the felling of a 40-year-old neem tree near his house in Hyderabad. The forest department then slapped a fine of Rs 62,075 on the man who cut the tree, on Monday. The man said that the tree was obstructing the construction of his new house, a forest department official said.
On noticing that the tree had been axed on Monday morning, the boy rang up the Forest Department's toll-free number 1800 425 5364. He identified himself as a 'Green Brigadier' and requested that action be taken against those responsible for cutting the tree. Officials swung into action and their inquiries revealed that the man had not taken prior permission to cut the tree.
The man was then slapped with a fine of Rs 62,075, which he eventually paid.
Forest department officials congratulated the boy for acting responsibly by complaining over the tree felling.
In 2020, the Forest Department fined a gated community in Hyderabad for illegally cutting down more than 40 trees on its premises. The management of Indu Fortune Fields Gardenia located in Kukatpally Housing Board Colony (KPHB) was charged under the WALTA (Water Land and Trees Act, 2002) for failing to take prior permission for cutting the trees.
On Monday, the Forest Department announced that appropriate steps would be taken to complete the forest clearance process for roads sanctioned under the Prime Minister's Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) scheme by March 15. The same was informed by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to the Union Rural Development Secretary in a video conference attended by officials from several departments.
Somesh Kumar said that the process to identify compensatory afforestation lands will be completed soon. A weekly review of forest permits would be conducted and completed within the stipulated time, informed the official.