Green order..All Deodar trees will get radio frequency tags

Shimla, Oct 27: Acting tough over illegal felling of deodar tress in the state capital, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the state to implant radio frequency identification tags on every tree and this will help preserving them. A division bench of acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel observed: "Protection of environment is a constitutional duty. Right to life includes right to live in a healthy environment which the plants do provide." The 'green' order, that was provided to media on Friday, noted that Shimla town has maximum coverage of forest area and went on to say: "In fact, no other town or city of India has greater number of trees of deodar species, which takes more than 100 years to grow and mature as a full tree". It also said that thge "adverse effect of felling of trees has been noticed in the recent past". "We notice illicit feeling of trees is going on unabatedly. None is ready to shoulder the burden of sharing the responsibility. The baton is not passed on, but thrown at each other. The Municipal Corporation states that responsibility is that of the state government whereas the state alleges it to be otherwise." "We are of the considered view that the state or Municipal Corporation of Shimla must ensure that every tree, be of whatever species, falling within the municipal limits of Shimla town, apart from being numbered, must be tagged with the radio frequency identification tags," said the bench. It told the civic body to charge money from the private owners for installing the radio tags on their trees. Amicus curiae Devan K. Khanna apprised the court that though not much illicit felling of trees is carried out on government land, it is rampant on private land. He said that the modus operandi adopted by the land owners, though barbaric, but with certainty, yields the desired results. Firstly the tree is dried up by pouring acid in its roots and then felled, either by obtaining sanction in accordance with law or by adopting illegal means, more so during the monsoon or winter season, so as to make it appear that it is on account of natural calamity, he said. Directing the authorities to immediately conduct an environmental audit of the saplings and trees, the bench asked the government to file a compliance report on November 14. IANS