What to do when you see a tree being cut?

Vinay Sreenivasa posts in Hasiru Usiru group:

Tree Felling in Kanataka is governed by the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976. Section 8 (1) of the act states:

With effect on and from the appointed day, notwithstanding any custom, usage, contract or law for the time being in force,  no person shall fell any tree or cause any tree to be felled in any land, whether in his  ownership or occupancy or otherwise, except with the previous permission of the  Tree Officer

Thus, whether the tree is in private land or government land, the permission of the Tree Officer is essential before a tree is cut. 

On what grounds can a tree be cut? 

The Act says that permission to cut a tree cannot be refused if the tree –

(i) is dead, diseased or wind-fallen; or 

(ii) has silviculturally matured; or 

(iii) constitutes a danger to life or property; or 

(iv) constitutes obstruction to traffic; or

 (v) is substantially damaged or destroyed by fire, lightning, rain or other natural causes

Steps to be taken when you see a tree being cut

1) Approach the people cutting the tree and see if they have permission to cut the tree. The permission should be from the Tree Officer, BBMP with the seal of the BBMP and the signature of the Tree Officer. 

If permission has not been granted

1) Ask the people cutting the tree to stop immediately. Tell them that it is illegal to cut a tree without permission and that it constitutes a criminal offence. 

If the tree cutting does not stop do the following  – 

a) Immediately call the Tree Officers office.

For BBMP limits, we have two Tree Officers:

Tree officer North: Covers the following zones – Dasarahalli , East Zone, Mahadevpura, Bytarayanapura

080-22485317, 94806 83127, 94806 83013

Address: 2nd floor, BBMP  South Zonal Office,2nd Block, 9th cross Jayanagar, BBMP, Bangalore-560011,     

Tree officer South: Covers the following zones – South, West, Bomannahalli, Raja Rajeshwari Nagar,

080-2657 8423, 94806 83842, 9480684641

Address: Public Utility Building,  17th Floor, M.G. Road, Bangalore-560 001.

Inform the Tree Officers Office of what is happening, mention the exact address and the tree being cut. Ask them to send their staff immediately. 

b) Inform the local police station that a tree is being cut without permission, and that since it is a criminal offence under the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, the police should     immediately act on the same.

If you are not able to reach the Tree Officer or the Police station, call the BBMP Control Room – 080-22221188 / 080-22975595 / 080-22225657 and Inform them of the same. Also all your local corporator and inform her/him of the same and request action

Take a photo and or/video of the same and send it any media people you know. Also submit a complaint to the Tree Officer’s office at the earliest and take an acknowledgment of the complaint.    

If permission has been granted

If you feel the permission has been granted improperly (see above for valid grounds to cut a tree), then immediately call the following office:

Chief Conservator of Forests (BBMP) – 080-22975707 and mention the same to them. Ask them to take action immediately and cancel the permission.

If the above does not work, you inform the media and share with them photographs and /or video of the tree cutting. 

Also pursue the matter to by filing an appeal against the permission, by filing an appeal with the Tree Authority, BBMP, by giving a letter to the BBMP Commissioner  and  /or Mayor, who are to chair  the authority, marking the copy to the CCF and to the Tree Officer.

Compensatory Planting

While nothing can fully compensate the felling of a full grown tree, the least that can be done is to follow the law in terms of compensatory planning. 

The Tree Preservation act says –

Where permission to fell a tree is granted, the Tree Officer may grant it subject to the condition that the applicant shall plant another tree or trees of the same or any other suitable species on the same site or other suitable place within thirty days from the date the tree is felled or within such extended time as the Tree Officer  may allow.

If you know of a place where permission was legally and rightly granted for felling a tree, please ensure the above is taken care of.

What is to be done to preserve, maintain and re-generate trees?

  • Avoid using cars and two-wheelers as much as possible. Road-wideining, Metro and other    transport projects which aim to reduce traffic congestion are the top reasons for tree-felling     in  Bangalore
  • Plant trees on all street-sides in Bangalore!
  • Plant trees appropriately – For example It does not make sense to plant a rain tree in a narrow road.
Deepa Mohan
About Deepa Mohan 710 Articles
Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.

15 Comments

  1. 10 to 12 healthy trees were cut on august 26, 2017 just outside the premises of Maratt Pimento apartment at j.p nagar,near J D Marra Signal. The buiding is almost completed and there is no apparent reason why the authorities had to cut the trees at this stage of the construction process. I am very sure that they could have executed their buiding plan beautifully without beheading these lovely healthy selfess trees… Can anyone justify the urgency of those trees being felled??

  2. Dear Sir
    we want to inform you that in our land area there is one family who cut our 4 shahtoot trees at the mid night. after two days when we see there was only the roots of the tree .now we want to inform ur department they come here and check

  3. I called up and gave the officer address of the location and landmark where the tree is being cut watching. He asks me for ward no.? He refuses to take any action without ward no. How does a bystander save the trees, if they are being cut for no reason in the middle of the city kike bangalore.

  4. So glad we can complain .. I’m an NRI and hardly live in my BLR Pty. Once some family relatives felled the tree in my garden and some other trees seem to be in my neighbors portion whr I think they belong in mine.. How can I verify this? And is there any way of knowing how my beautiful tree disappeared 🙁

  5. Prestige Group is developing a residential apartment complex on Banaswadi main road in Cooke Town that they are marketing as “Woodland Park”. (http://www.prestigeprelaunch.in/Prestige-Woodland-Park-Bangalore/) The address is : Dodda Banaswadi Main Road, Cooke Town, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560005.

    They have chopped down ten to fifteen beautiful trees on the property. This morning a beautiful, old peepul tree was being chopped down despite being on the periphery of the property and not obstructing any construction work. The peepul tree was home to all kinds of birds in the past years. I called out to the workers to stop them. They stopped momentarily and then, with an electric axe, chopped it down. In the space of a few minutes they killed the tree that took over fifty years to grow. The trees don’t have a voice, but that doesn’t mean that we can kill them without concern. What is really painful is that there was no practical purpose to chopping the peepul tree. I do not know if Prestige Group has BBMP’s authorisation to destroy all trees in this property or if they are acting ad hoc, and if any new plantings are going to happen.

    It is ridiculous and a blatant lie for Prestige to market the property as they are doing : “Prestige Woodland Park is widely spread beyond the wide area of land having most charming greenery that entirely spread all through the reach where all the people can enjoy the close proximity of all the facilities”.

    I do hope all prospective buyers take note that the property is a graveyard of beautiful trees, and hope that BBMP takes note to verify if Prestige Group’s tree-killing spree is authorised or not.

  6. Hi,

    I need you help if you can please guide me how many numbers of paper for a book produce from a tree.

    As we are working on a concept to guide people to converse the natural resources especially trees.

    Your help on the same will be highly appreciated

    Thanks
    Koushal

  7. These numbers are not working. I stay in Pai Layout. I saw a tree being cut in 2nd B main and asked the builder representative why they are cutting as it is not inhibiting teh entance and if they have permissions. They said that they have permissions in some office and could not show. I tried calling these numbers but they either do not understand English/Hindi or the numbers do not exist. They tree will be butchered meanwhile when I write this post.

  8. Dear All,

    I would like to report on one incident happened in the area that I stay. There are trees planted in well manner on one side of roads where people can take a morning walk in pleasant air. But some selfish persons are poisoning the tree first and then cutting down them when they die just to make their house visible from street, forgetting the value of a fully grown tree. It is very pity to see the trees cut down without proper reason. I don’t know where to report or whom to say.. I don’t think Forest department could stop this as they are well corrupted.
    Area name : NRI Layout, Ramamurthy nagar

  9. Dear All,

    I want to raise my concern on cutting of hundreds of trees on yelahanka Doddaballapur Road, It is only to make a double Road, but there are other means also to develop our city, ther are many locality in Bangalore like Bel Road, Malleswaram and many where trees are give due importance.

    Trees are our acute necessicity to keep the Bangalore for which it is known for, if the Engineer, who does not have teh option lets give some other a chance,

    Please Please who ever reads my message forward it to our environment minister to take some action and act fast till the time they will cut all the trees only to make a concrete jungle.

    Alok Mattey
    An Exservicemen appeal

  10. During last month, owner of a building has chopped the branches of Neem Tree at the road side. When we asked them, they informed that they have chopped the Neem Tree branches so that the treen can grow in a proper and good manner.

    To our surprise, again the owner, without written permission, has arranged cutting of the neem tree at ground level. One of our neighbour got stopped cutting of the tree at that moment. We have given complaint to the Forest BBMP Department. The concerned staff from BBMP Forest department has arrived and at that moment he said that he has not given any permission to cut the tree. After some time, the staff arguing with the citizens and supporting / favoring the landlord for cutting the tree. There is no proper reason to cut the tree.

    WE DOUBT THE OWNER ALONG WITH THE STAFF FROM RAJARAJESHWARI NAGAR AREA ARE FINDING ANOTHER ALTERNATE WAY TO CUT THE TREE ILLEGALLY.

    CONCERNED AUTHORITIES MAY KINDLY LOOK INTO THE SAME AND SAVE THE TREE FROM FELLING UNAUTHORISEDLY/ILLEGALLY.

    The address of the owner / premises is as follows:

    No.37 “DEEPAM”, Opp. to “POOJA PARADISE”, 3rd Main Road, NRUPATUNGA NAGAR, NGEF LAYOUT, NAGARABHAVI 2ND STAGE, BANGALORE 560072

  11. I agree that it can be very frustrating. I am turning this over to Vinay Sreenivasa..he will answer your queries. May I also add that I have not been able to save a single tree that has been singled out to be chopped? I go through the motions, and just get frustrated and sad.

  12. Thank you Deepa Mohan, A few queries for clarifications.
    1. How can you as a bystander ask the tree cutting team to show you the BBMP permission?
    2. If the above team tells you off saying “it is not your business”, what do you do?.
    3. Worse still, if the above team assaults you, where do you go.?
    4. I have tried the given phone numbers on many occasions. Some body answers, asks you to hold on and never returns. I have wasted so many Rupees in just trying to give information to the staff concerned.
    5. If at all, some staff comes on the line, she says “please give a written complaint”.As if the tree will stand by that time.
    6. If a senior officer comes on the phone , he says “I have retired”.If you ask him whom to contact he says “I do not know”.
    So after wasting your money and time, you only get headache and feel ashamed..

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