Trees felled without permission

Irrigation department and GHMC are caught on the defensive

In a classic case of law enforcers breaking the law, Irrigation department and GHMC are caught on the defensive by violating the WALTA Act.

Several trees were felled without requisite permissions in the GHMC limits based on the Irrigation officials’ directives here on Tuesday.

About 20 full grown and semi grown trees of various species including neem and subabul were chopped on the Bam Rukn-ud-Dowlah lake bund in Sivarampally limits by a contractor engaged by the Irrigation wing of GHMC.

Local residents informed that about 15 to 20 per cent of the jungle on the lake bund was cleared by engaging labourers and machinery, before the violation was brought to the notice of the Forest department.

Irrigation officials, on the condition of anonymity, admit to the violation, but said the jungle was being cleared for strengthening of the bund.

“Trees should not be allowed to grow on the lake bund, as they will weaken the structure. Till five years ago, the said lake bund was being cleared regularly without hassle. Due to lack of funding for maintenance, such activities have taken a back seat, which allowed for growth of jungle there,” said an official.

Residents of the colonies surrounding the lake recall the cleared the area as a picturesque location with rich biodiversity.

“We used to visit here regularly to click pictures of birds of various species. It was a beautiful place with thick forest,” recalled Rohith, a local resident and bird photographer.

Forest officials, upon receiving information, halted the operation, and seized an excavator and a tree cutter machine from the site. They confirmed that no permission had been sought to fell the trees on the lake bund.

The amount of penalty to be imposed on the departments responsible for violation is being worked out, informed Vijayanand, Forest Divisional Officer of Shamshabad forest division.

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