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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Trees felled for rural feel

Branches of full-grown trees on Park Street were chopped off a few months ago in the name of trimming. The offenders could not get away and found themselves behind bars, as the chief minister himself witnessed their misdeed on his way to office.

But not all localities are lucky enough to be on the regular route of a powerful man like Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Aware of the fact, a Keshtopur club chopped off several full-grown trees and placed them on its premises to decorate the Kali puja pandal.

Let alone taking any action against the culprits, the forest department and the pollution control board have not even heard about the rampage on the green.

The theme of the puja, organised by Shibkali Sporting Club, off VIP Road, was 'village life'. To create a rural ambience, the organisers felled as many as 50 trees on the outskirts, like Rajarhat, and areas bordering Nadia.

The trees butchered include coconut, palm, banyan and betel-nut.

Club secretary Nikhil Poddar was dumbfounded when told that what his club had done was illegal. 'How would we know that we had to take permission for cutting trees' he wondered.

The club, he added, needed a number of trees to create the ambience of Kali being worshipped in a dilapidated village temple. 'We did not have any option. And we had chopped off trees that were to die soon.'

Not everyone, however, were as callous as the organisers. 'Dekho kato baro gaachtake ora kete pheleche (Look how big a tree they had felled)' exclaimed Trisha Ghosh, a Class VII student, while going round the pandal with her father on Wednesday afternoon.

District forest officer A.K. Chakraborty said his department had no knowledge about the felling of trees by the club.

Pollution control board chairman Sudip Banerjee said: 'We are unaware about any such incident. If anyone lodges a complaint, we will take action against the offenders.'

He clarified that no one could chop off a tree without the board's consent.

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