Mysore, May 25 (SH)- Various non-governmental organisations have once again demanded in unison inclusion of citizens of Mysore in the Tree Authority.

They were participating in the meeting convened by the Department of Forests, Government of Karnataka, here yesterday to elicit public opinion regarding the amendment to the Karnataka State Tree Protection Act as well as the recently constituted Tree Authority.

The speakers charged that the Tree Authority had been formed mainly to fell trees and not to their protection. No member of any NGO or public had been named on the Authority, they complained.

The Authority is headed by the Mayor and members include the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mysore City Corporation Commissioner, Deputy Director of the Department of Horticulture and a member nominated by the Mayor. The representatives of NGOs taking part in the meeting urged reconstitution of the Authority of including members from NGOs and public of Mysore.

The officer from the Department of Forests disclosed during the meeting that a number of applications seeking permission to cut the trees are pending before the Department. The Forest Department did not have powers to stop or allow tree-cutting as it has to be decided by the Authority, it was explained.

M. Lakshmana, Convenor, Association of Convened and Informed Citizens of Mysore (ACICM), pointed out that the State Government was planning to amend the Tree Protection Act to include 30 more species of trees. If that comes into effect, the Tree Authority of Mysore would become null. Maj. Gen. (retd.) S.G. Vombat-kere endorsed his view.

Dr. H.A.B. Parpia, former Director, Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, said it was wrong to describe Mysore as a garden city.

The authorities concerned should propose a masterplan to develop Mysore on the lines of Singapore, with a rich presence of parks. Also, a squad should be formed with officials of Forest Department and members of NGOs to verify every application submitted to the Department of Forests seeking permission to cut trees, he suggested.

Trees should not be cut indiscriminately to pave way for road-widening, said H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana, retired Chief Engineer, Border Roads, Government of India.

Most of the accidents take place on wide roads on which drivers of vehicles tend to drive at great speed, he pointed out.

The Reserve Bank of India has come forward to plant about 1,000 sandalwood saplings on its 100-acre campus in the city and has requested the Department of Forests to supply the material, disclosed Conservator of Forests Ravi. The cost will be borne by the RBI, he added.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore