Wanihama residents axing walnut trees with impunity

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Anantnag Feb23:- The chopping down of certain species of tress including Walnut, Mulberry and Chinar is a punishable offence under Preservation of Specified Trees Act 1969 in the state. However, the residents of Wanihama break this law with impunity. The Act was enacted to make provisions for the topping, lopping, girdling or otherwise damaging a specified tree, although the Act to punish or make bureaucrats accountable for harming rare species of trees is yet to be passed. However, officials were seen ‘quiescent’ and “had no information regarding the grace violation of laws in Wanihama Anantnag”. When contacted, Tehsildar Islamabad, Gh Rasool Bhat, said, “We are unaware of any such act and no permission has been granted from our office.” “We will inquire about this matter with no delay and make sure that violators of law are brought to book,” he assured. However, the group who were allegedly involved in the cutting down of the walnut trees had revealed that the “permission” to cut down the trees was “issued from Tehsildar Office”. As far as Preservation of Specified Trees Act 1969 is concerned, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, no person shall fell any specified tree except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a permit granted by the prescribed authority under this Act. Provided that a permit’ granted under this section shall not authorize the felling of a specified tree by any person other than the owner thereof.

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