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Public Interest Exclusive
Trees cut illegally for President Pratibha Patil’s Pune bungalow?

Pune Cantonment Board’s reply to RTI application says that the cantonment comes under the jurisdiction of the Maharashtra Tree Act. Was this Act thrown out of the window for the President?

At least 20 stalwart trees more than 100 years old and several other trees have been massacred to make way for the palatial post-retirement bungalow of President Pratibha Patil on 2,42,000 sq ft of prime land in Kirkee Cantonment in Pune, which skirts the Pune-Mumbai highway. 

Presodent Pratibha Patil Khadki bungalow trees
The green landscape before...

By its own admission to a RTI (Right to Information) query by noted Pune-based tree activist, Vinod Jain, the Pune Cantonment Board has specifically replied that, “The Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 applies to Pune Cantonment Board...” 

Hence, says Maj Gen SCN Jatar, a prominent RTI activist of Pune who had fought tooth and nail when the Pune Cantonment Board decided to increase the FSI within its limits, “The prevailing law is clear that the felling of trees for the proposed residence of the President on her retirement should have had the approval of the Tree Officer. The Kirkee Cantonment Board should have obtained the permission either from the Tree Officer of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) or of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC). In the instant case, whoever cut the trees did not obtain any of the permissions as per law.”

On Monday, Col Suresh Patil (retd), Comm Ravindra Pathak and former naval officer Anup Awasthi ran from pillar to post to find out whether permission was given to fell these trees. “We came to know of the damage of the trees when Moneylife’s story on President grabbing the land went viral and we rushed to the spot with the media channels.” Finally, Mr Awasthi filed a RTI application with the Pune Municipal Corporation as well as the Pune Cantonment Board late Monday.

President Pratibha Patils new bungalow trees massacred
When trees were cut to make way for construction...

Col Patil states that Principal Director, Defence Estates is also responsible for not taking any action. He states, “Despite merciless tree cutting, there seems to have been no legal action taken. We are going to first question him about what kind of permission was given to fell the stalwart trees. Secondly, as per the law, the local military authority has to auction them officially and deposit the revenue in the treasury. Has it done that?”  

According to Chapter I, Section 1 (2) of The Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 (as modified up to 3 November 2006), the Act “extends to the whole of the state of Maharashtra”.  Hence, President Patil’s bungalow cannot be an exception even if it is on defence land, says Maj Gen Jatar.

President Pratibha Patil Trees massacred
The barren land and building that was once full of lush green cover...

The point is who will bell the cat?

• As per Chapter V (Restriction of Felling of Trees and Liability for Planting and Preservation of Trees), Section 8 (1), “On and after the date on which this Act is brought into force in any urban area, notwithstanding any custom, usage, contract or law for the time being in force, no person shall fell any tree or cause any tree to be felled in any land, whether of his ownership or otherwise, situated within that urban area, except with the previous permission of the Tree Officer” 

• Section 21 of the Act reads, “[(1)] Whoever fells any tree or causes any tree to be felled in contravention of the provisions [of the Act] or without reasonable excuse fails to comply with any order issued or condition imposed [by the Tree Officer or the Tree Authority or voluntarily obstructs any member of the Tree Authority or the Tree Officer or any officers and servants subordinate to him in the discharge of their functions under this Act, shall, on conviction, be punished with the fine of not less than Rs1,000 which may extend up to Rs5,000 for every offence and also with imprisonment for a term of not less than one week, which may extend up to one year 

• [(2)] The felling or causing of felling of each tree without the permission of the Tree Authority shall constitute a separate offence.]

• In a judgment in PIL 93 of 2009 dated 17 June 2009, the Bombay High Court has ruled, “…By way of ad interim order we direct the respondent municipal corporation not to permit felling/cutting the trees within the municipal limits of Pune Municipal Corporation without obtaining approval of this Court.” 

(Vinita Deshmukh is a consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte. She can be reached at [email protected]

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COMMENTS

JBPatel

2 years ago

This is the state of affairs in case of unauthorised tree cutting at K West Ward, Andheri, Mumbai - 400058. In spite of more than 25 visits to Garden & Tree Dept.of MCGM and Juhu Police Station, no FIR has been registered till date i.e. 24.06.2014 while the offence took place and the original complaint was lodged on 28.09.2013.
********************************
From: J.B.Patel
RTI & CHS Activist)
B1/35, Andheri Panchvati CHS. Ltd.
C.D.Barfiwala Marg (Juhu Lane), Andheri (West), Mumbai – 400 058

Date: 20.04.2014

To,

The Senior Inspector of Police,
Shri Rajendra Chavan ( transfered and Shri Abhay Shashtry, Mobile 9870152312, has replaced him)
Juhu Police Station,
Mumbai – 400 049

REMINDER - 1

Sub: Un authorised Cutting of green, healthy and thick branches of two Ashoka Trees on 28.09.2013 at Andheri Panchvati CHS. Ltd.
Sir,

I, the undersigned, J.B.Patel, age 67 years, thank you for the courtesies extended to me during my meeting with you at about 12.30 pm on 19.04.2014 in connection with my following complaints about un authorised cutting of green, healthy and thick branches of two Ashoka trees at about 11 am on 28.09.2013 at Andheri Panchvati CHS Ltd., C.D.Barfiwala Marg, (Juhu Lane), Andheri (West), Mumbai - 400 058.

As suggested by you, I am submitting synopsis of my complaints again:

When I saw the green, healthy and thick branches of two Ashoka trees being cut in my society on 28.09.2013, I dialed on police line 100. To my pleasant surprise Police Marshal Shri Pote, who is a very well known police and a familiar face in the area arrived within about 7 to 8 minutes. He stopped cutting of the branches and took the Mali and In-Charge of our society’s working, Mr. Chandrakant Barge, residing at A / 704, The Raigadh CHS. Ltd., Rajendra Nagar, Dattapada Road, Borivali (East), Mumbai - 400 066 (mobile: 9869017795) to Juhu Police Station for further action. There he handed over the matter to the Duty Officer Shri Maitre. I had accompanied them as witness but was asked by the Duty Officer to leave as my presence was not required. I again reached the police station at about 3 pm. I was shocked to learn that Mr. Chandrakant Barge was allowed to leave without giving any statement.

Later, I learnt that the file of my case was given to API Shri S.S. Salvi. After more than ten personal visits to Juhu Police Station and various visits and follow up to Garden & Tree Dept., MGCM - K West Ward, ONLY a NC Offense was registered vide NC No. 2159 on 24.10.2013 by API Shri S.S.Salvi who is now transferred:

..........(2)
(2)

28.09.2013 - My Complaint no. 0721669134 lodged on MCGM Complaint Website
28.09.2013 - My complaint no. 53177 lodged on Police Complaint Website at 9.30 pm
29.09.2013 - My Written complaint with photographs to Juhu Police Station
30.09.2013 - My written complaint with photographs to AE/Garden and Trees of MCGM, K West Ward
08.10.2013 - Jr. Tree Officer lodged a Written Complaint no. KW/40972 & 41935/AEM Dt.08.10.2013 as per Section 8 R/w 21 of the Maharashtra (Urban Area) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 (As modified up to November, 2006) to the Senior Inspector, Juhu Police Station
15.10.2013 - My reminder letter to Senior Inspector, Juhu Police Station
24.10.2013 - NC Offense was registered vide NC No. 2159 by API Shri S.S.Salvi
18.11.2013 - Jr. Tree Officer, K West Ward submitted a Copy of legal opinion of Jr. Law Officer of K West Ward vide Ref. Jr. L.O./0015/KW Dt.18.11.2013 to Senior Inspector, Juhu Police Station
26.11.2013 - Jr. Tree Officer, K West Ward submitted another Written complaint no. KW/0015/AEM Dt. 26.11.2013 to Senior Inspector, Juhu Police Station
13.12.2013 - My Reminder to Senior Inspector, Juhu Police Station
02.01.2014 - Letter Ref: 51 / 2014 by API Shri S.S. Salvi to Jr.Tree Officer, K West Ward.
08.04.2014 - My meeting with ACP (Zone IX) Shri D.O. Jadhav who was very courteous and has assured me of appropriate action as early as possible.
19.04.2014 - My meeting with Senior Inspector, Shri Rajendra Chavan, Juhu Police Station, who was very courteous and has assured me to help me on my complaints.
(Xerox copies of above correspondence are attached for reference)

MCGM is sending complainant to Police Dept. and Police Dept. is sending the complainant to MCGM for Un authorised Cutting of Trees which in slang language is known as “half murder”.

Xerox copies of two FIR registered by two different police stations in similar cases are also enclosed for your ready reference.

I request you for further appropriate action as per Section 8 R/w 21 of the Maharashtra (Urban Area) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975 (As modified up to November, 2006) in the matter at the earliest.


J.B.Patel (Jeby)
RTI & Housing Societies' Activist
Mobile:9820538570
Email: [email protected]

********************************
This seems to be the way of handling law of the land.
********************************

pinku

5 years ago

cutting tree for sake of bungalow
madness really a madness

Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

CHIPKO MOVEMENT LIKE THAT OF SUNDARLAL BAHUGUNA OF UTTRANCHAL OR BISHNOIS OF RAJASTHAN CAN SAVE OUR TREES.

REPLY

malq

In Reply to Ratanlal Purohit 5 years ago

Not if the trees have got army protection - in which case the goalposts change.

Ratanlal Purohit

In Reply to malq 5 years ago

Army is like T cells.
To give us immunity from Invasion.
HIV Her Intrusive Violation of Indian Constitution Law Rules Regulation has given it Full Blown Auto Immunity Deficiency Syndrome. Cancerous Diabolties and COPD causing National Sleep Apnea and affecting our Lungs, Trees.
She doesnt want to emulate Veer Mata of Shivaji's Maharashtra Veeresh Bhai. Bharat ka Bhagwan hi Maliq hai?
WHERE SHOULD I GO FOR PRAYERS? ALL ENJOY THEIR SERVICES AT HER PLEASURE.
LITERALLY AND IN EFFERVESSIVE SPIRITS.

mukesh

5 years ago

CUTTING TREES SHOULD BE BANNED ALL OVER INDIA - IN EVERY STATE OR ANY PLACE!

ONLY UNDER INDEPENDENT BODIES' OBSERVATION & PERMISSIONS, TREES SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BE CUT UNDER LEGITIMATELY VALID REASONS OUTWEIGHING THE AXING OF A TREE!

A TREE IS THERE FOR SEVEN GENERATIONS AT LEAST! IT IS NURTURED OVER YEARS & DECADES! ITS BENEFITS FAR OUTWEIGH ANYTHING ELSE THAT EXISTS AROUND US AFTER OXGEN & WATER, BOTH OF WHICH HAVE A RESULTANT EFFECT DUE TO EXISTANCE OF TREES-CUM-FORESTS!

ANYONE WHO CUTS TREES HAS TO BE TRIED EQUIVALENT TO A MURDER OF AT LEAST 100 PEOPLE!

ONLY THEN THE NEXT FEW GENERATIONS WILL BE SAVED OF THE ILL EFFECTS OF MINDLESS CHOPPING OVER THE LAST FEW DECADES!



REPLY

nagesh kini

In Reply to mukesh 5 years ago

Tree cutting is an offence, prior permission is to be obtained.
Since the soon to demit office Prez. Ma'am is more equal than you and me all this is given a go-bye.
It calls for immediate judicial intervention.

malq

5 years ago

Update on the latest situation wrt the President's landgrab in Pune . . .

http://www.timesnow.tv/Debate-Whistle-bl...

Nirmala

5 years ago

common citizens in Mundhwa,Gorpuri,B.T.Kavde rd. &kalyani ng.face endless suffring by geting caught in tow railway gates for need of ROB.But Army is generous to dole out thousand of acres to one person while millions suffer. This is power of power.

Sushil Kumar

5 years ago

While the 'Powers that Be' in the Defence Establishment has shamelessly followed the path of sycophancy , what is equally if not more shameful, is that the so-called "First Lady" of India, has still not come out openly abdicating her right to acquire such a 'property' in a blatant dis-regard for The Rules & Law of the Land, and the injustice to serving Jawans who , as has been highlighted in the media, are living in abect conditions while defending the integrity of the "motherland' !!!... What "Pratibha" is she showing ???

REPLY

Ratanlal Purohit

In Reply to Sushil Kumar 5 years ago

Inspired by a Song from a film Shaan I have parodied A Shame song
FRAUD KARNEWALE KISISE DARATE NAHIN. JO DARATE HAIN VO FRAUD KARATE NAHIN. JEETE HAIN SHAAN SE SEENA TAN KE. CHORI AUR SEENA JORI NIYAM MAN KE.

Shadi Katyal

5 years ago

What a shame with all the Scams going on the President of India decided to join in one.When are we going to end this VIP system.
She was suspected of some scam before being selected and now she has proved her true self. WHY IS THIS BEING ALLOTTED TO HER IS SHE HOMELESS??
Is there no shame in our nation where people live on fott path and she at her age needs lavish bunglow. WHY??
Shoe me another democratic country where such awards are given and nation is looted by few.
In USA with whom we compare often no congressmen or any Govt official is given any accommodations but rent on their own. Has any President been given such lavish housing.
Whereas in India where we have people living on streets, the bureaucrats and MP not only live in luxury but even abuse the privildges.
This system must end

vimalbhair

5 years ago

If this is true it is very bad.Vimalbhair

malq

5 years ago

http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/hom...

Here's the latest, it seems she wanted 85 lakhs for interior decorations . . .

REPLY

Ratanlal Purohit

In Reply to malq 5 years ago

I dont know how to react. Its descretionary. The beneficiary and sanctioning authority. Bargaining. Give and take. No Dignity. No sharam. Jisne ki uske foote karam? Why no not negotiable fixed criteria.

Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

Presidential immunity?Atleast Pak SC has challenged it. Poor Gilani. Facing Contempt. WILL HONOURABLE SUPREME COURT ADMIT CLASS ACTION OR SUO MOTO TAKE NOTICE TO ENFORCE RULE OF LAW AND SEND SUMMONS TO THE CONCERND ACCUSED OF VIOLATION.
SUBMITTED WITHOUT MALICE TO ANYONE INCLUDING ALL THE ACTORS IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE.

S Suchindranath Aiyer

5 years ago

Nehru established this. That laws are for former potentates and the common man and not for the newly established tyrants of India. It has been so ever since. In India "Who" and not "What" is the law. They even established this pernicious crime-by-the-State of retrospective laws and the 9th Schedule to the Constitution, whereby, laws that are anti-constitutional can be placed beyond judicial review. Welcome to Orwell's Indian "Animal Farm".

P M Ravindran

5 years ago

It would be waste of time to even shout SHAME on these scum on the earth!

Shadi Katyal

5 years ago

I had stopped writing due to this security code issue for some time but today when I tried to ask for new one it didnot change and when I sent on old same story security code didnot meet and out went all the writings,.
I will stay away till this fiasco of security code ends.
WHY TAKE THE WRITING AWAY AND NOT LET CHANGE THE CODE????
I wonder how many people have stopped writing due to this technical fault./

REPLY

Sanjay

In Reply to Shadi Katyal 5 years ago

After I enter all teh text, I do Ctrl+A & CTrl+C to copy all teh text & then enter code. In this way, if there is a tech issue, my writing is still safe & I can copy it to a text file for later pasting back. You must use this for every post you make so your thougts remain with you

shadi katyal

In Reply to Sanjay 5 years ago

Thank you Sanjay ji. I will try to follow your advise and have noted your instructions.
My contention is that I am not the only one who has suffered this but evidently you and others too and thus you have devised this method to escape the agony.
Thanks

Ratanlal Purohit

In Reply to Shadi Katyal 5 years ago

Mr Katyal,
One way is to press for change of code and immediately enter and post. Chances that code will change in the meanwhile will be greatly reduced.
Even if it happens then go back and let the server put back your submission for reauthenticating.
I operate from mobile and there is no way I can save on words. At least I don't know how to.
Hope tipa will help you beating the game of changing code after submission till ML finds a locking the code as soon as it is entered. At the moment it is difficult in open loop system


shadi katyal

In Reply to Ratanlal Purohit 5 years ago

Prohit ji,
Thanks you for your advise and let me try next time the advise given by each one.
I strongly feel that since we have requested before and I might not be the only one having this problem, this should be corrected.
Thanks again

malq

In Reply to Shadi Katyal 5 years ago

Shadi Katyal ji, please save the matter before posting and pressing the "reply" button, so that even if it vanishes, you can re-post without any effort.

The reason for this problem is not only at server's end but can also be at various points along the way.

humbly submitted.

rgds/VM

shadi katyal

In Reply to malq 5 years ago

Thank you for advise but we have discussed this before and that is why I have stayed away for long time.I tried yesterday hoping system has been corrected and met the same fate. I am sure I am not the only one.
We arite to other publications but this is the only one which has this problem. Others will return the writing and tell you wrong code but in your case whole writings disperses. Maybe it is too much to ask. We claims to be best program writers and yet we cannot correct this anomaly.

Rambabu Shastri

5 years ago

Winston Churchill was right over 60 years ago. And now, the presidential palace will become the new Rashtrapati Bhavan. With the kind of brazenness that these scams are being swept under the carpet, nothing will ever come out of them by way of justice. Today's Adarsh report from a state appointed judicial comission is nothing but an eyewash to sweep everything under a carpet. Wonder when Indian politicians will learn that the nation is first. As it is, everyone now views it as themselves first.

REPLY

P M Ravindan

In Reply to Rambabu Shastri 5 years ago

It is true that Winston Churchill had predicted "Power will go to the hands of rascals ,rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low caliber & men of straw. They will have sweet tongues & silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power & India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air & water would be taxed in India." But one need not attach the halo of a prophet to him. Even while making the prediction he worked to ensure that it would become true! And we had Mahatma Gandhi anointing a blackmailer as India's 1st PM!

nagesh kini

In Reply to P M Ravindan 5 years ago

The modus operandi adopted for getting the A1 plot ande now massively cutting 100 years trees indicates the extent to which our so-called First Citizen can stoop.
There is a need for a comprehensive cause of action invoking all the violations incl. tree chopping to bring in stop work and get the plots restored to the Army.

malq

In Reply to P M Ravindan 5 years ago

Things shall improve! Please do not give up hope.

rgds/VM

New look benefits from Indian Airlines for frequent flyers

Jet, Air India and Go Air have made changes to their frequent flyer programmes to benefit their flyers. For the frequent traveller, it is these perks that keep them loyal to a particular airline. Make the most out of these while it lasts

Various domestic airlines have been making changes to their frequent flyer programmes recently, and most of these are adding some more visible benefits for their flyers.  To promote a loyal customer base, one low-cost carrier launched its own loyalty program. Let’s take a look at some of these new benefits on offer by various airlines. 

Jet Airways Jet Privilege:  Jet Airways’ loyalty program has over a million JP (Jet Privilege) members over the years. While they were on a cost-cutting spree most of last year, a lot of benefits begin to go off for frequent flyers. But it now looks like Jet Airways is trying to make up to them in bits and pieces. 

Effective 25th March, Jet Airways has increased the number of miles one can earn on the domestic flights with Jet Airways. Earlier, all international flights used to earn 100% miles (based on distance) but domestic flights did not. So, if you are a frequent domestic traveller, now you can look forward to building the same mileage balances by flying Mumbai to Delhi or anywhere else the airline flies. Even on its sister airline Jet Konnect, all flights will now earn 75% miles. So, for a 705 miles flight from Mumbai to Delhi or back, you should see 705 miles in your frequent flyer account. Earlier, if you were on a very cheap fare, you could expect to get 142 miles at best! So, massive improvement has been accomplished in this department. 

Not just that, the airline is offering a discount of 20% on redeeming their miles on Jet Airways’ and Jet Konnect domestic segments. This means, if it earlier cost 10,500 miles for an economy seat between Mumbai and Delhi, till 30th September, you can have these economy seats for 8,400 JP miles only.  The limited time discount is also available on Business Class seating. 

Air India Flying Returns: On the other hand, Air India’s program was being run like a bureaucratic fiefdom for so long. So, everyone was a member but the only way to become a privileged member over the years and get frequent flyer benefits was to know someone in the airline. The changes are stark. You can now hope to get benefits for being an honest frequent flyer, as well.  If you fly 25,000 miles in a year, you become a Silver, Gold for 50,000 miles of flying and a member of the Maharaja Club if you fly 75,000 miles in a year. Benefits include excess baggage allowance and vouchers to upgrade you on flights, bringing the program in line with other frequent flyer programs. 

Go Air Go Club: GoAir has recently entered the loyalty arena trying to get a bunch of loyal travellers, and has called it GoClub. The program is very simple. If you join GoClub on GoAir’s website, then you start earning points for every ticket you purchase directly from GoAir. In return, you’ll be able to get discount vouchers for further GoAir tickets, and get upgrades in GoAir’s version of their business class. You also get access to GoAir’s lounges at various airports across the country. 

For the frequent traveller, it is these perks that keep them loyal to a particular airline. Make the most out of these while it lasts.  

AJ writes a travel and aviation focussed blog from India at www.livefromalounge.com. You can follow him at @livefromalounge on Twitter.

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COMMENTS

kavneet

3 years ago

Redeeming AI Miles is a pain with their online reservation for buy tickets from your miles NEVER working.
Their customer executive not being aware about documents required to puck up blocked tickets etc etc.
It a pathetic system end to end - seems to be a century old system

anand

5 years ago

What is use of being loyal customer if portal sells tickets cheaper than available on company's website?..it happnes with KF, spicejet and go air..

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