Efforts being taken to preserve Mumbai’s green cover will take another hit – this time, owing to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) proposal. The civic administration will seek permission to cut and replant around 150 trees across the city for development projects.
The proposal is expected to be put up before the next tree authority meeting. Most of trees that will be cut are in island city. According to the proposal, the maximum number - 39 trees - will be cut in Chembur for civic development projects and construction work.
Other parts of city where trees will be cut include Girgaum, Prabhadevi, Dadar, Mahim, Sion and Chembur. A senior civic officer from garden department said, “If the permission to cut these trees is held up, several important projects may get stuck. We will put forth the proposal before the tree authority soon and we hope to get a go ahead.”
Over the past few years, the city’s green cover is fast shrinking as trees are being cut for various infrastructure and private projects. This monsoon, there have been complaints of nearly 1,000 trees being felled. Apart from this, trees are dying in the city owing to mealybug infestation, raising concerns over the maintenance of the trees.
Raising questions over the civic body’s fresh proposal, activists have slammed the corporation. Nikhil Desai, an activist from F-north ward, said, “Instead of planting more trees, the civic body is making proposals to cut them. So many trees across the city are dying or are already dead as their bases have been concretised. Even after National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order, the civic body is failed to remove concrete bases from so many trees,” he said.
At present, the BMC has appointed firm to conduct a global positioning system (GPS)-based tree census across the city. After completing the census of 16 wards in first phase, the civic body has found there are 16 lakhs trees of 298 species. However, eight more administrative wards have to go through the counting process, which is expected to be done by year end.
The previous tree census was done in 2008 and 19 lakh trees were found.