The first phase of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) high-capacity monorail project has cost the city a major portion of its green cover.
The MMRDA had sent the civic body 48 proposals in all, seeking permission to cut 841 trees around the project construction area.
However, the state agency has not informed the civic body how many of these have actually been cut, and how they plan to make good the loss of green cover.
In addition, the MMRDA had also said it would transplant 376 trees. Of this, only 146 have been transplanted, while the status of the other 230 is not known.
This was revealed during a meeting of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Commission’s (BMC) Tree Authority Committee on Monday. “The nodal agency handling the monorail project has taken the city’s green cover for granted,” said Shubha Raul, former mayor and committee member. “There are no clear reports on the number of trees that have been cut down, replanted or transplanted during the project,” said Raul.
To account for the extent of damage, civic chief Sitaram Kunte, who also heads the tree authority committee, has summoned officials from the MMRDA to attend the committee’s next meeting. The agency has been asked to submit reports on the extent of the damage and justify the inaction.
“The MMRDA submitted 48 proposals to cut trees coming in the way of the pillars for the monorail. The proposals were cleared but there were no records were submitted to the BMC on what happened to these trees,” said Ameet Satam, a committee member. “Over the next few weeks, committee officials will visit the spots to assess damage,” he added.
However, MMRDA officials passed the buck to contractors. “Since our sub-contractors did not submit receipts of the cut trees to us, we do not have clear records. We have asked them to submit these before the next tree committee meeting,” said an MMRDA official.