The fall of a 'holy' banyan tree near Elphinstone Road railway station has upset the locals.
While residents alleged that it was illegally hacked by a developer, Indiabulls, on whose site the tree stood, the latter claimed that the tree fell due to natural reasons. The civic authorities, however, agree with the locals.
The tree, which locals claim was more than 50 years old, was located on the Jupiter Mill site on Fitwala Road.
Residents said a temple adjoining the tree had been built to deify the tree. Santosh Kelshikar, secretary of the Shri Saidham Devalay Sansthan temple trust, said, "We believed in the sanctity of this tree. On Tuesday, we heard a loud thud, followed by cracks appearing on our temple walls and flooring. We realised that the tree had fallen."
Kelshikar alleged that the tree had been illegally chopped off. "We spoke to people at the site who said it had been pulled down. Civic officials told us that no permission had been given to cut or trim the tree."
The developer denied the allegations. HT has a copy of the letter written by the junior tree officer, G-south ward.
However, NV Pai, assistant municipal commissioner, G-south ward, said, "We did not issue any permission to hack or trim the tree. It has not fallen due to natural reasons."