Maharashtra to give heritage tag to trees that are over 50 years old | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: In a major new policy to protect trees, the state government has decided to accord ‘heritage’ status to trees that are over 50 years old. If these trees have to be cut, saplings corresponding to the age of the tree will have to be planted. The policy also provides for up to Rs 1 lakh penalty for violations.
Earlier, only one sapling had to be planted for cutting a tree, irrespective of its age.
The cabinet on Thursday approved amendments to The Maharashtra (Urban and Areas) Preservation and Protection of Trees Act, 1975. The compensatory plantation will have to be done at the same location of the original tree or in a public place. The saplings will have to be 6-8 feet tall and they will be geo-tagged and maintained for seven years. Local civic bodies will have to conduct a tree census every five years and maintain a record of heritage trees.
“This is a very good decision to conserve and protect trees. If a 100-year-old tree is hacked, 100 new saplings will have to be planted at the same site or at a public space,” principal secretary, environment, Manisha Patankar Mhaiskar, told TOI after the meeting. The state-level Tree Authority will be responsible for monitoring, protecting and conserving heritage status trees.
BN Kumar, founder of NGO NatConnect Foundation, said this would definitely help in conserving nature, but what is important is strict implementation and accountability.

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