Pune: Forest Department Fines Builder for Illegal Felling of 800 Trees in Mulshi Taluka

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Pune, 12th April 2024: In a significant move to combat the rampant unauthorized felling of trees under the guise of development, the Forest Department has imposed a hefty fine of eight lakh rupees on a developer found guilty of cutting down 800 trees without administrative approval in Mulshi taluka. Promptly, the authorities ensured the collection of the fine to underscore the severity of the offense.

The incident transpired in the Nere area of Mulshi taluka, prompting the Vasundhara Social Upliftment Tree Planting and Tree Conservation Co-operative Society, operating in the village, to lodge a complaint with the Mulshi Forest Department office at Bhare in March. The complaint highlighted the illegal felling of 400 trees planted in 2016, along with naturally grown trees within the institute’s premises.

Following the complaint, Pragya Bansode, Forest Division Officer of Ghotavade, and Pandurang Kopanar, Forest Conservator of Kasarasai Division, conducted an on-site investigation as directed by the Paud Forest Division Officers. The inspection revealed the felling of approximately 800 trees.

A forest official disclosed that the complaint implicated 30 to 40 individuals in the tree felling operation. Subsequently, notices were issued to the accused for further inquiry, leading them to voluntarily appear at the Forest Range Office to provide their statements and confess to the crime. They expressed willingness to pay the penalty prescribed by government regulations. In accordance with the established protocols, the Forest Department swiftly collected a total fine of Rs 8 lakh from the perpetrators.

This proactive action by the Forest Department serves as a deterrent against unauthorized tree felling and underscores the commitment to preserving the region’s valuable natural resources. The imposition of a significant fine sends a strong message that environmental violations will not be tolerated, promoting responsible stewardship of forests and ecosystems.