Promote tree planting, Kerala HC tells Kochi Corporation

Court orders survey of existing trees in the city

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has directed the Kochi Corporation to conduct a survey on the existing trees in the corporation areas and take steps to promote tree planting as per Section 4 of the Kerala Promotion of Tree Growth in Non-Forest Areas Act, 2005

The court ordered that the exercise be completed in four months. The order was issued on a writ petition filed by Jai George of Ayyappankavu. He had sought a directive to take effective action against those who felled two healthy trees that stood on government land opposite to a mall on M.G. Road. He said a mango tree and a fig tree were cut down on June 18, 2018.

He pointed out that as per a Government Order issued in 1986, no tree standing on public land should be felled without the permission of the Assistant Conservator of Forests (Social Forestry) concerned.

According to him, though the neighbouring street vendors had tried to prevent the felling of the trees, they were threatened. Despite informing the police, no action was taken to prevent their removal. Nor the culprits were arrested to date. It is necessary now that measures are taken to protect the remaining trees in the city.

The government pleader submitted that a crime had been registered on a complaint of the corporation under the provisions of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 against five persons and a charge-sheet filed before the court concerned.

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