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House pruning
- Axe men take over seat of power

Ranchi, May 3: The state Assembly, which had become quiet after the fall of the Arjun Munda government and imposition of President’s Rule, was suddenly abuzz with activity weeks ago.

No, not the political kind.

A group of men, armed with axes, had taken over the premises, cutting down trees that had grown too tall for comfort. The spoils of their efforts are now strewn all over, logs of sheesham, mango and other species, lying in heaps near the main gate.

Assembly secretary Sushil Kumar Singh did not find anything amiss, saying the trees were posing a threat and hence were being felled.

“Most of the trees that have been felled had out grown the boundary wall, helping intruders get in. Some trees had grown too high, touching overhead cables, while others had become old and weak. They could come crashing down any time,” he said.

Ultimately, the forest department pressed woodcutters to knock down as many as 20 trees on the premises.

Nature lovers have decried the move.

“A tree takes years to grow and should not be felled just like that. This way, the Assembly will lose its green cover and will become a concrete jungle. Instead, some other measures should be taken to ensure that trees do not die,” said a civil court lawyer.

But Singh begged to differ. “Cutting down some five to six trees will not have any adverse impact on the environment as more than 100 trees are still present on the premises. Most importantly, permission has been taken from the forest department,” he said.


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