S Thangavelu, who was at the wheel of a container lorry belonging to a private firm, knocked down a full-grown Mayflower (Gulmohar) tree near the VOC park grounds. Though no one was hurt in the incident, Thangavelu along with the lorry tried to flee the spot.
However, a police vehicle on information from onlookers chased and caught the vehicle. Taking cognisance of the incident, revenue officials levied a fine of Rs 1,000 on charges of negligent driving and recommended to increase the fine.
Welcoming the action, environmental activists claimed Tuesday’s development was a first of its kind.
“The tree which was at least 20 years old was in full bloom and was not a disturbance to motorists. The negligence of the lorry driver caused its fall,” said Osai Syed, an activist.
Syed, who recalled that trees were often felled during road expansion, said the revenue department’s action would be a deterrent for others. Officials used to uproot trees using JCB’s during road expansion, but they would later claim that the tress were felled accidentally. Only stringent measures would help in preventing the loss of tree cover in the district, he said.