The penalty for felling a tree in Gurugram, Haryana, is just Rs 100. In contrast, in Delhi those who commit the same offense have to pay anywhere between Rs 34,000 to Rs 55,000. This year, the region has witnessed 8,000 trees literally getting the axe.
One of the reasons the city has been losing its green cover is because the law that currently imposes heavy penalties and stringent action against offenders in Delhi, simply does not exist for Haryana. And in the absence of such a protection, many, including real estate developers, have felled trees in droves to make space for development projects.
But now, environmental activists and concerned citizens of the city are trying to get the government to pass a comprehensive ‘Tree Act’ that will protect the region’s trees and subsequently the eco-system that the trees protect.
Jitender Bhadana, the environment activist who started the online petition calling for immediate action to address this problem, said that people take advantage of the current situation in the state.
Image for representation. Photo source
The petition states, “The penalties of tree felling are negligible. This encourages the culprits to continue doing their job without taking much pain. Even the officers sometimes feel like they do not have enough power to let them realize their crime. This can’t go like what it is. For a sustainable future, we need the ‘tree act’ to be passed by the Government of Haryana to provide us fresh air to breathe.”
The campaign is directly addressed to Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave. Similar to the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, there are laws in Chennai, Mumbai and Chandigarh that are enforced to prevent the felling of trees.
The petition can be accessed here