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  Metros   Mumbai  28 Nov 2017  PIL raises doubt on tree authority

PIL raises doubt on tree authority

THE ASIAN AGE. | SONALI TELANG
Published : Nov 28, 2017, 2:06 am IST
Updated : Nov 28, 2017, 2:06 am IST

Petitioner questions qualification of three members of the committee.

The members have been alleged to be politically influenced.
 The members have been alleged to be politically influenced.

Mumbai: Amid the proposal of the removing 5,200 trees tabled before the Tree Authority of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed against the tree authority alleging illegal constitution of the statutory body. The petitioner, Rohit Joshi, a Thane based tree activist alleged that the among the six elected tree experts in the tree authority, three experts did not meet the minimum education qualification of science graduate which is a prerequisite for the tree authority member as stated by the high court.

“The tree authority has illegally appointed several non-qualified members without following due process,” said Rohit Joshi. The petitioner has contended that among the six tree experts and six municipal councillors that are presently acting as the members of tree authority, only three  have the minimum education qualification stated in the Urban Tree Act.

“Among the 37 applicants for tree experts, Ms. Ankita Amol Jamdar, even after being a science post-graduate from Bombay University and having experience in the field of tree preservation and conservation, was not given preference over the other nominated members who are not even science graduates. Moreover, the civic body has failed to respond on time to the RTI we filed about the education qualification of the elected councillors, which cast serious doubts on their eligibility,” added Rohit Joshi. The petition also mentioned that the TMC tree authority has appointed few members as special invitees, a provision which has not even been stipulated under the Urban Tree Act. The members have been alleged to be politically influenced.

However, the tree authority has denied the allegations. The HC order mandates that the tree experts should have a degree in science while the order states that for the councillors as a tree authority member, a degree in science is preferred.

The tree act

According to the Urban Tree Act, the tree authority should consist of not less than five and not more than 15 members, from amongst its councillors, including the commissioner and it mandates experts from non-government organization having special knowledge or practical experience of at least ten years in the field of planting and preservation of trees.

Tags: tmc, tree authority, urban tree act