Published On : Sun, May 9th, 2021

MSEDCL cuts trees under power lines instead of trimming branches

Nagpur: Over a 100 trees planted by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) during state government’s ambitious plantation drive are being chopped by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL), complain environmentalists.

In the last fortnight, two incidents have come to the fore where large number of fully-grown trees along national highways were ruthlessly pruned. While the first incident took place at NH-7 near Kamptee some days back, the second incident recently took place on NH-69 near Saoner.

Photographic evidence shared by activists shows that trees of different species were brutally chopped off from the main stem. According to them, MSEDCL has powers to trim branches in case they pose a threat to overhead electric wires. “This right has been given to electricity distribution agencies across the country. However, instead of trimming required branches, MSEDCL completely cut the trees along national highways near Nagpur,” said green activist Shrikant Deshpande.

He further alleged that in rural areas it is easier to harm green cover. “In Nagpur, we are alert and so are the citizens. The awareness about importance of saving trees is increasing. However along national highways, there is no scrutiny and the agency took advantage of that,” said Deshpande.

Adding that the green cover in rural areas too is depleting, Deshpande added, “Trees along highways act as a barrier in controlling air pollution. They are also habitats of various species of birds.”

Sources learnt that NHAI officials too were opposed to the action as the trees were planted and maintained by them. According to activists, NHAI should file a police complaint in the matter. NHAI officials confirmed that trees were being felled by MSEDCL and that they will take initiate necessary action. MSEDCL officials did not respond to calls.

This is not the first time that trees under overhead wires were cut. “This has become a repeated phenomenon. We understand that branches pose a threat to cables and can lead to a breakdown and interrupted power supply. MSEDCL should sensitize its workers to not cut entire trees but only trim the required branches,” said Deshpande. Ahead of monsoon, MSEDCL is trimming and cutting trees under overhead wires as its routine activity.