Ahead of the upcoming Holika Dahan festival, which will be celebrated on March 28, the Mumbai Police instructed its personnel to ensure no illegal chopping of trees takes place for the occasion.
This time, the Mumbai Police instructed its personnel to increase awareness and fix responsibility among local residents in respective areas, who are likely to participate in Holika Dahan. If the illegal hacking of trees takes place despite the instructions, they will be held responsible and booked subsequently, said the officials.
The police have also instructed its personnel to keep strict vigil and increase deployment on the Western and Eastern Express Highways to ensure no trees are chopped illegally alongside the carriageways.
An instruction has been given to all the police stations across the city that strict action will be taken against the violators. As per the Maharashtra (civil areas) Tree Protection Act, illegal hacking of trees is not permissible and the violators could face penalty of Rs 1,000-Rs 5,000 or prison term of one week. Permission from the tree authority is mandatory for tree cutting.
The circular issued in this regards states, it has been observed that large number of trees from public and private places have being hacked or chopped for the festival illegally. Such illegal hacking have adverse effect for the tree itself as well as on the environment.
As per the circular, all the necessary help should be provided to the NGOs working for safety of trees. On the day itself, many NGOs round city to ensure as many as trees could be saved, we have given instructions to help all these NGOs and register offences whenever necessary, said a police official.
On the eve of Holika Dahan, a pyre is been lit after sunset signifying Holika Dahan- victory of good over evil. It has been witnessed in the city that, due to lack of vegetation, trees are felled illegally to light pyre, in rural areas shrubs are generally used.
For the Rangapanchami, which is celebrated on the next day of Holika Dahan, the police have also issued a warning against the sale of harmful chemical based color.