Mahim residents accuse agency of poisoning tree | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Mahim residents accuse agency of poisoning tree

Residents of Dev Leela building on Veer Savarkar Marg, Mahim have lodged a police complaint against Samia Outdoor Advertising agency alleging that the company poisoned a badam (almond) tree that was blocking one of its hoardings.

mumbai Updated: Mar 13, 2010 02:27 IST
Raghav Rao

Residents of Dev Leela building on Veer Savarkar Marg, Mahim have lodged a police complaint against Samia Outdoor Advertising agency alleging that the company poisoned a badam (almond) tree that was blocking one of its hoardings.

The hoarding features a poster of the upcoming Vikram Bhatt film, Shapit. It is located at a strategic point on the busy Veer Savarakar Marg and is partially hidden by the tree.

Complainant, Burhan Parkar (61), a Mahim resident for the last 25 years, alleged there had been a number of attempts to trim the tree since the hoarding had been set up three years ago.

Residents of the building had contacted the BMC garden department on February 22 when they noticed that the tree was shedding an unusually large number of leaves. BMC investigations revealed that a chemical substance had been poured into the tree by drilling six holes into its trunk.

“We still don’t know what substance was used to poison the tree as we have not yet received the reports, but it is quite clear that there has been a deliberate attempt to harm the tree,” said Mahesh N. Irnak, junior tree officer at BMC.

Police inspector Vinay Kulkarni said the matter was still under investigation.

“We have filed a panchnama and registered an FIR under the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act. Once we have enough evidence, we will take action against the responsible party,” said Kulkarni.

“Miscreants find it much simpler to poison the tree. People usually don’t notice anything until it’s too late to save the tree. After the tree dies, the municipal authority has to remove the tree, saving them the trouble of doing it themselves,” said Dr Anahita Pundole, who had filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court, which in 2003 directed the BMC to ensure no trees are cut for better visibility of hoardings.

Local residents passionate about the green cover are upset. “Each tree is worth 12 air-conditioners. We will not let the agency get away with this,” Parkar said.

“I've cared for this tree ever since it was a sapling. It’s pathetic to see it dying because of someone else’s greed. If these people aren’t punished then everyone will follow their example and the entire road will become barren,” said Sunil Wadhwa (39), a local resident who had helped the BMC plant more than 50 trees along the road last monsoon.

The residents are hopeful that the tree will recover during the rainy season.