Whenever you see a tree on the roadside being hacked, don't just stand there and watch it happen. According to a recent study done by the Times of India, most of these are "illegal felling", either done by private contractors or hutment dwellers.

Save your trees from Illegal Felling. You have the power!

A big beautiful tree once stood there. But no more.

In the sweltering heat and pollution of the big metropolitan cities of India, sometimes happiness seems a lost cause, amongst all the noise and chaos. In all this commotion if one gets to spend, a minute or two under the lovely shade of a tree on the roadside… the relief felt, cannot be put into words. The temperature under the tree on an average is about 10 -15 degrees below the actual temperature on a hot sunny day. It acts like a “natural air-conditioner”.

Whenever you see a tree on the roadside being hacked, don’t just stand there and watch it happen. According to a recent study done by the Times of India, most of these are “illegal felling”, either done by private contractors or hutment dwellers.

Under the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, every act of chopping, even if it is the same tree at different times, constitutes a separate offence . The penalty is a fine of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 and imprisonment stretching from a week to a year.


  1. Even if the tree is in private premises, it cannot be hacked without permission of the tree officer. Even government bodies require permission from the Tree Authority
  2. On receiving an application to cut a tree, a tree officer has to inspect the site and submit a report to the Tree Authority within 30 days. The officer has to give adequate public notice in local newspapers and affix a notice to a conspicuous part of the tree
  3. The Tree Authority has 60 days from the time the application is made to make a decision. If the 60-day period passes with no decision taken, the permission applied for is deemed to have been given. After permission is given, a tree cannot be chopped for 15 days


  1. When you see a notice for felling, you can write to the Tree Authority and the police asking for the reason
  2. If you catch a person felling a tree, ask for the required legal papers. If the person cannot produce the documents, you can complain to both the municipal authority and the police
  3. If the documents show that the municipal authority failed to decide, a citizen can demand an explanation from the civic body under RTI. Till an explanation is forthcoming, the tree cannot be felled

If you see such an act taking place in your locality make it a point to report it to the¬†Municipality or police. It might be a little troublesome and might need you to take some time out of your busy schedules, but you need to realize that the absence of the same tree on a hot sunny day might deprive you of that happy cool moment in the shade. Think about it….

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  • In Nashik, the work of highway widening is going on. Some activists moved high court and the court ordered that the trees can not be felled before planting thrice number.

    Now the authorities have found a novel way – they just (unofficially) encourage poor people to cut branches etc as firewood. This way, the tree will fall of its own this coming rainy season!

    Can you suggest something?

  • Hi Atul,
    u can try filling a Public Litigation against them or gather people and send written petitions to the commissioner of Police, the district collector and the Municipality Commissioner.

    I’ll advice you to get in touch with a lawyer to help you through this.

  • Shankar

    Hey Vaibhav,

    the one thing that cud be done to save the trees is :
    (1) get in touch with the municipal corporation/govt dept thats responsible for tree protection.
    (2) Initiate a local helpline that has people attending to calls from common ppl who raise the red flags when trees are being cut.
    (3) The local helpline can then immediately pass on the information to the concerned authorities to take corrective action – probably while the tree is still being cut!

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