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Tree felling: Karnataka High Court moots steps to make process transparent

Suggesting certain measures to bring in transparency, the High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday said the details of applications seeking permission for felling tress should be uploaded to a particular website by the tree officer, and the information on the availability of such details has to be given in the public notices.

The court also suggested that the tree officer, soon after granting the permission, has to make available that information on the website in order to bring it to the knowledge of the public.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty asked the expert committee, constituted on the court’s order to examine applications for felling trees in Bengaluru city, to include these suggestions in the procedure formulated by it for considering the applications.

Meanwhile, the Bench also pointed out that the public notice, issued by the tree officer of the BBMP in March 2019 on Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation’s application for felling/ translocating trees, were “defective” as the tree officer had not provided details of trees to be felled for identification by the public.

Pointing out that the objective of giving public notice is when an application is received, the public are able to raise objections, if any, as even translocation amounts to felling trees, the Bench said information about particulars of trees to be felled is important to receive feedback from the public.

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