Eight-year-old ameyaa Shah took out the last green ribbon from her pocket, tied it to a huge banyan tree and declared, “I don’t want more cars in my city, I want more green.”
Like Ameyaa, about 50 people from all age groups participated in the ‘green ribbon campaign’ — inspired by the Chipko Movement of the 1970s to save trees at the base of the Himalayas — on Napean Sea Road on Tuesday to save about 80 trees in the area that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to chop for a road-widening project.
“It is unfortunate that the civic body treats this area only as a highway and not as a residential area,” said Bittu Sehgal, one of the brains behind the protest.
Residents said they were not opposed to the road widening but to the civic body’s attitude. “We want the plan to be made public. They (civic officials) don’t even want to try and save one tree,” said Rajen Parikh, another resident. “They want all 80 tress, which are more than 100 years old, to be axed.”
Residents said they needed good quality footpaths with the trees providing shade. “Rather than arbitrarily undertaking road widening, what we residents need is proper footpaths on both sides of the road which can facilitate smooth pedestrian movement,” said Sehgal.
The BMC plans to widen the road from the existing 60 ft to 90 ft.
“We will consider whatever alternate plan they have to save every single tree. Only if it is in the middle of the road will we cut it - and for that we are sorry,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner RA Rajeev.