Mumbai: In a new green nature conservation initiative, the Maharashtra government has decided to award ‘heritage’ labels to all trees that are 50 years old and older in urban centers, officials said here on Friday.
The state cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday approved a proposal to amend the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Tree Protection and Conservation Act, 1975, and incorporate the concept of ‘heritage trees’.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has also decided to set up a ‘Maharashtra Tree Authority’ authorized to make all decisions regarding the protection of trees.
“To maintain and promote the green cover in the urban centers of the state, we have adopted the amendment that will protect the environment in all cities and provide a robust mechanism to protect heritage trees,” said Aditya Thackeray, Minister of tourism and environment, said.
He thanked the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Ajit Pawar and the Minister of Revenue, Balasaheb Thorat, for consistently giving weight to sustainable development by amending existing laws to address the global climate crisis or global warming.
“A tree with an estimated age of 50 years or older is classified as a ‘heritage tree’. They may be part of specific species, which will be notified from time to time, ” an official said.
The move comes barely 18 months after Mumbai in less than 40 hours (or about one tree / per minute) by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (MMRCL) within the Aarey Colony in Mumbai. October 2019.
The Thackeray father-son duo, both nature lovers, were instrumental in drafting the proposed legislative amendments to ensure the safety of all old trees in urban landscapes.
The Department of Environment and Climate Change will soon draw up formal guidelines with the Forest Department to determine the age of a tree.
Source: Telangana Today