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Updated on: Thursday, June 10, 2021, 11:23 PM IST

Mumbai: Cabinet approves action plan to implement the Heritage Tree concept

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The Maharashtra Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on Thursday, in a bid to protect ancient and old trees aged 50 years and above in urban areas, approved the action plan to implement the ‘Heritage Tree’ concept in the state. The cabinet gave clearance to the proposal moved by the Environment Department headed by Aaditya Thackeray to amend the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Tree Protection and Conservation Act, 1975. The Free Press Journal broke the story on June 1.

Aaditya said, “To maintain and foster the green cover of Maharashtra’s urban centres, the state cabinet today passed the amendment to the Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975. Through this amendment, we will be able to safeguard the green cover across urban landscapes and also provide a robust mechanism to protect heritage trees.”

“I am grateful to CM Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar for consistently giving importance to sustainable development and bringing changes into existing laws in a decade of climate emergency,” said Aaditya in a tweet.

The government will introduce the concept of Heritage Trees and age of the tree as a basis for protection and preservation. As per the amendment, compensatory plantation will ensure net positive impact. The government aims to protect a significant number of trees. The government will form Maharashtra State Tree Authority for the protection and preservation of trees.

It has proposed common land for plantation to be earmarked and scientific methods such as Miyawaki plantation.

Transplantation would be done on expert guidance along with defined compensatory plantation. The Maharashtra Tree Authority will define the utilisation of tree cess while the fines and penalties are being revised with the maximum limit up to Rs 1 lakh per tree.

According to the cabinet decision, a tree expert will be a part of the local Tree Authority for expert opinion. “The chief officer of the municipal council will be the chairman of the Tree Authority. Duties of the local authority are being redefined to ensure minimum 33% plantation in urban areas. Local authority will ensure adequate maintenance, enumeration and conservation measures,” said a senior minister. The government will use technological means such as GIS mapping for tree census.

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Published on: Thursday, June 10, 2021, 11:23 PM IST
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