IANS | Lucknow
January 4, 2014 Last Updated at 10:40 IST
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court (HC) has banned cutting of green mango trees in the state.
A bench of Chief Justice Dhananjay Yashwant Chandrachur, and Justice Devendra Kumar Arora Friday directed the state government to ensure that no mango tree in the state was felled without obtaining the necessary guidelines.
The court gave these directions while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a local lawyer Jayant Singh Tomar.
Tomar in his plea has brought to the court's notice that green and fruit laden mango trees were regularly cut by various government agencies in name of expansion of roads.
Some of the private developers and individuals were also involved in the practice in areas like Bakshi Ka Talaab and Malihabad on the outskirts of the state capital, the plea said.
He claimed, this practice was in gross contravention to the rules and guidelines for the 'Phal Patti Kshetra' (Fruit belt area).
Government sources say that there are over 300 villages near here under the fruit belt, out of which illegal felling is on in more than 84 villages.
This, an official said, was largely due to construction by private builders and developers in the region.
Many marriage lawns and party halls have also come up in such villages, said the official of horticulture department.
Mango orchard owners point out that more than 40 percent of mango trees have vanished in the last five years, and if the felling continues, they fear, the entire mango belt will be denuded in the next decade.
Haji Kalimullah- known as the mango man - who was awarded the 'Padma Shri' for his unique grafting of mango varieties also admits that the area of mango plantation has ceased to expand.
Welcoming the high court ruling, mango growers say, they hope things will be "bright in the coming days".