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Vadodara: Sarpanch faces heat for chopping off 9 neem trees | Vadodara News

SS Thakor had permission to cut just one neem tree

VADODARA: Taking advantage of the lockdown, sarpanch of Talsat village near the city allegedly cut down nine neem trees without taking any permission from the authorities on the plea that these had been obstructing the road.
A city-based geologist, Hansa Roy, happened to notice the illegal felling and lodged a case with the court of sub-divisional magistrate against sarpanch S S Thakor.
Thakor had earlier sought permission in February from the executive magistrate of Vadodara rural to cut the nine neem trees, together with 17 khejri trees and two acacia trees. However, a month later he had received permission to cut just one neem tree, along with a rider to grow two more elsewhere to compensate for the loss of that tree.
After the lockdown came into effect and people’s movement got restricted, Thakor clandestinely got all nine neem trees felled.
Roy, who confronted Thakor on his illegal act, said, “He (Thakor) had been misguiding people of the village that the mamlatdar had given a go-ahead to cut the trees, but in reality permission was given to cut just one single tree.”
When Roy complained to the district collector Shalini Agrawal, she was asked to file an appeal in the court of sub-divisional magistrate. After the case was filed, Thakor stopped felling of trees.
“In the past couple of years, the sarpanch has already cut down 21 trees and now he wanted to remove 28 more on the plea that these were obstructing farmers from driving their tractors to the farms,” said Roy, adding that the 28 trees exists on the side of the road and are by no mean blocking the road.
“The appeal has been registered and notices will be issued soon to both parties. We hope that this case will embolden common citizens to speak up if they see any such activity going around them,” said Jaideep Verma, Roy’s lawyer.

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