Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Aug 16, 2002
Industry & Economy
Felling of trees made an offence in AP
HYDERABAD, Aug. 15
THE felling of trees has been declared an offence in Andhra Pradesh. Punishment ranging from a minimum two to five times the value of the tree cut has been provided for in the new legislation called the Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Trees Act, 2002.
The move aimed at preserving and over a period increasing the `green cover' in the State, has provided for prior permission from competent authorities to fell trees in genuine cases. If a person fells a tree after obtaining permission, he has to plant at least two saplings to make good the loss.
The State Government is embarking on a massive tree plantation programme with an ambitious target of 30 crore saplings across the districts starting on August 17. On that day itself, a record 1.6 crore saplings are to be planted.
Stating this the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, announced a new scheme for avenue plantations to be taken up this year.
The State Forest Department and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Science and Technology are finalising it.
Under the `clean and green' programme, which has completed 45 rounds so far, a total of four crore saplings have been planted in the State. The Chief Minister told newspersons that not only will trees be planted, but constant monitoring would be done to ensure that they survive and grow.
He said the Government is also serious on imposing fines for felling of trees and any other violation of the provisions of the Water, Land and Trees Act.
In the case of works related to roads, canals and tanks, the legislation mandates for tree plantation and its maintenance by those concerned.
All land owners, except small and marginal farmers and wet land owners, would now have to plant trees in five per cent of their land holdings, as to augment the tree plantation efforts in the State.
The legislation, which came into force from July this year, also said that in plots exceeding 200 sq metres, building permission in urban areas would be granted only if rain water harvesting structure were constructed.
Even water supply and electricity would be provided only if this condition were met. The Act is aimed at promoting water conservation and tree cover and the environment in general, in addition to regulating over-exploitation, use of ground and surface water.
The large number of functional watershed committees and water users' association in the State will also now be under the purview of the Act.
A major provision is the permanent demarcation of water bodies such as tanks, ponds, nalas etc and the ban imposed on sand mining in dark and grey areas.
Suitable guidelines for sand mining, keeping in tact the drinking water sources and ground water, are being formulated.
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