March 15, 2013

Treeslaughter at Csobánka

Hundreds of trees have been chopped down, in and around the cemetery of Csobánka ("Chobanka"), surrounded by controversy.

Casualties include seedlings, as well as trees with  trunks greater than 40 cm diameter. The area has not been cleaned properly, and the stipes have not been removed from the ground, which suggests that the perpetrators were in a hurry and only took the logs without doing the hard job.

The plant life was probably exectued by the local militia commander, but his motifs, and the legal background of this operation are blurry at best. Here is a quick rundown of the controversy:

1. The mayor of the village says, the trees have been cut out to make room for a drainage ditch.

2. The commander made the same claims, and reported that the cuttings was done by "the poor of Csobánka", who got firewood this way.

 3. The manager responsible for the drainage development, answering the questions of national weekly newspaper  Magyar Narancs, stated that four trees are facing death for the sake of the ditch, but on the other side of the road, and he claimed absolutely no involvement with the cuttings around the cemetery.

4. Under increasing pressure from local enviromentalists, the notary of Csobánka admitted that no one asked for his clearance for the treecutting. This makes the operation illegal, as the clearance is necessary by law to start the cutting.

5. Later the commander stated at the village council meeting, that only seedlings have been chopped down, which seedlings have grown "wild" and representing "no value". He also said that this was necessary to clean up the cemetery, to make room for a parking lot, and establishing running water connection. So the trees had to go.

6. None of the above-mentioned developments were known to the city council members, no plans have been made, no cost estimated. Running water connection is out of the question anyway, since it would require special pressure-enhancing machinery the village has no money for. The statement that only seedlings have been cut is an obvious lie, anyone can see the stipes the perpetrators did not bother to remove yet.

So, no clearance from the notary, no council planning, and the road development office does not know anything about this plantlife-butchery. It's also sad to hear that someone thinks that trees growing "wild" can be cut down without any sort of paperwork or warrant - this is obviously not the case in Hungary, the country has laws controlling usage of natural resources.

After following the story on local blogs, All Plants Bulletin can only come down to the probable conclusion, without any tangible proof of course, that someone in the circles of the mayor gave direct orders to the militia commander to cut the trees and use the logs for their own gains, either sell it illegally or distribute it as firewood to their partners, ensuring their support. 

The police has not been alarmed, there is no investigation, counterterrorism units are not bustling in the peaceful village near the Budapets suburbs. So the perpetrators seem likely to get away with their crimes, and can repeat doing it anytime in the future.

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