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Forest Officer Imposes Rs 8 Lakh Fine Amidst Illegal Felling Of Approximately 800 Trees In Mulshi

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Amidst Illegal Felling of Approximately 800 Trees in Mulshi

Photo Credit: The Green page 

Tejas Navale

Pune: Is development in Mulshi taluka costing us our green cover? This question is needed to be asked as a concerning fact has been revealed from Mulshi taluka of Pimpri Chinchwad city, where a case of two people cutting as many as 800 to 850 trees from the forest cover has come to light. In this regard, the Forest Range Officer Santosh Chavan imposed and subsequently collected a fine of eight lakh rupees from the concerned accused.

The relentless slaughter of tree resources in the name of development raises serious concerns in Pimpri Chinchwad. Officials stated that in some cases, people do obtain official consent from the forest department, but most of the time, people resort to illegal felling of trees, exploiting the department's manpower constraints.

In this regard, the forest department has started gearing up, planning to take stricter action against the accused individuals. A recent incident in Nere village saw a hefty fine of eight lakh rupees imposed for unauthorised tree cutting, disincentivizing further such acts from other accused.

Vasundhara Social Upliftment Tree Planting and Tree Conservation Cooperative Society Limited had planted a total of four hundred trees in Mulshi Forest cover. In this case, a complaint application was filed regarding the illegal cutting of trees from this forest cover. The complainant further named two individuals, Atul Sathe and Balasaheb Buchade, and held them responsible for these acts.

Accordingly, the forest department decided to conduct an on-site inspection to check the authenticity of the complaint. Astonishingly, the forest department found that around 800-850 trees were cut from the Nere village of Mulshi Taluka.

Accordingly, formal notices were issued to the suspected accused for further investigation in this regard. The accused individuals in person attended the forest range office at Bhor and recorded their statement in front of the forest range officer, Santosh Chavan.

Subsequently, after the accused showed their readiness to comply with the law and to pay the fine as per the government rules, concern officials collected a fine of Rs 8 lakh from both accused.

"In the complaint, the applicant stated that 30 to 40 people, including Atul Sathe and Babasaheb Buchde, were involved in the tree cutting. Upon issuing notices for further enquiry, the accused came to the Forest Range Office, recorded their statements, and admitted to the crime. They agreed to pay the fine as per government rules. Accordingly, we have collected a total fine of eight lakh rupees from them, which amounts to one thousand rupees per tree," said Santosh Chavan, Poud Forest Range Officer.

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