A Khar resident, upset about a tree in front of a hoarding outside her home being chopped, has managed to get the culprits to pay a penalty. Aftab Siddiqui took photographs of the men, who had been hired by an advertising agency, cutting the tree without permission and filed a police complaint. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation sent the advertising agency a notice asking it to pay Rs 10,000 as fine.
“I was with a few civic officials on August 9, when I saw these men slowly hacking this tree, which was in front of a hoarding inside Aditi building,” said Siddiqui, chairperson of the Khar 33rd Road ALM. “The shocking part was that this spot was right in front of the Santacruz Police station.” Siddiqui clicked photographs and alerted the civic officials, who were with her.
“The first thought that came to my mind was to collect photographic evidence of the act, so that they can’t deny it later,” she said. Siddiqui went to the Santacruz police, showed them the photographs and demanded that the culprits be punished. The police complaint ensured the chopping stopped.
Siddiqui then lodged another complaint with the BMC. Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Special) Rajendra Bhosale initiated a probe into the incident. “Prima facie, it doesn’t look like the persons were trying to chop the tree because it was obstructing the hoarding.
However, since it was illegal, we had to impose a strict fine and set a precedent,” Bhosale said. Twenty days after the incident, the BMC sent the advertising agency a notice and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000. The secretary of Aditi building, Rajeev Talpade, denied that the tree was being hacked to make space for hoardings. “The issue had nothing to do with us. It’s between the advertising agency and the civic body to sort it out,” Talpade said.