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Sanjeev Kumar Pradhan

Berhampur: In an exemplary decision, the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) has decided to levy penalties on advertising agencies for hammering nails on trees to put up advertisements and publicity materials.

The decisions to penalise such a practice was taken by the BeMC after an environmental organisation from the city, ‘Sabuja Vahini’ lodged a complaint with the civic body in a bid to protect the trees.

“An awareness campaign will also be launched from this week and Rs 500 fine will be levied in the first instance and Rs 1000 for repeat violations,” Commissioner of Berhampur Municipal Corporation, Chakravarti Singh Rathore said.

Rathore further added “If anyone is found violating the norms repeatedly, the Forest department will be notified and a case will be filed against the offenders.”

“Although there are no specific laws regarding this, we will definitely take steps to safeguard the trees. Those who repeatedly violate the rules, stringent action will be taken against them,” Berhampur DFO, Ashis Kumar Behera said.

Reportedly, thousands of business establishments, shops, institutions and advertising agencies put up publicity materials and advertisements by nailing them to the tree trunks, which noticeably damages the roadside trees and decreases their lifespan.

“We are very happy as the support from locals, Forest department and media has been overwhelming. We are trying to reach out to everyone and spread awareness through various programmes,” said president of ‘Sabuja Vahini’, Shivaram Panigrahy.

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