‘Why the Fuss?’: Environment Min on Cutting Trees for PM’s Rally

“Every time we cut trees, we plant more. It is a rule of the forest department,” Javadekar argued.

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Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday, 16 October, defended cutting of trees for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll rally in Pune, saying such a thing was done in the past too, and more trees were planted later.

His remarks came a day after the opposition parties alleged that some trees on the campus of Sir Parshuram College in Maharashtra's Pune city were chopped on Monday for Modi's 17 October rally, which will be held on the college ground.

"Every time we cut trees, we plant more. It is a rule of the forest department," Javadekar said.

“And why is there so much fuss about cutting of trees for Modi’s rally? Trees have been cut for rallies of others too, and for rallies of previous prime ministers. I wonder why there was no such awareness previously,” Javadekar said.

Meanwhile, the college authorities on Tuesday denied the allegation saying only certain branches hanging dangerously were cut for the safety of students who play there, which has nothing to do with the PM's event.

Opposition Demand Stringent Action

NCP MP Vandana Chavan alleged some ‘subabul’ trees around the ground, where the rally will be held, were felled by the college administration.

"As per the information with us, trees were cut from the stems which is unacceptable," alleged Chavan.

She demanded stringent action against those responsible for the "cruel act".

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Rupali Patil also said the trees were hacked.

"They have cut the trees because they believed that the trees would prove hindrance for the PM rally," she claimed.

However, Pune BJP unit president Madhuri Misal, one of the trustees of Shikshan Prasarak Mandali (SPM) which runs the SP College, refuted the allegations saying chopping of trees had no connection with the PM's programme.

"In recent rains, two trees fell near the ground. Since our students from five different institutes of SP Mandali play on that ground there could have been an issue of their safety, so we sought permission from the Garden department of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to cut some trees," she said.

“The trees were cut on Monday after receiving the civic nod. It has no connection with the PM’s rally as the stage for the event is being set at a location which is distant from the place where some trees were chopped. These two things are different,” she added.

A PMC official said the permission to hack trees was issued on 14 October.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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