Of the heritage trees facing the axe across three villages in the Bhiwandi-Vasai taluka for a road widening project, only 15% will be transplanted.
Only 46 of the 292 trees to be felled will be transplanted, according to permission given by the VasaiVirar municipal corporation.
At present, there are no rules stating what the percentage of transplanting should be when trees are cut for infrastructure and development projects.
“This is completely unacceptable. This is nothing but insensitive and reckless behaviour. We are not opposing the road but are asking for the trees to be transplanted in the same belt with a guarantee of being looked after,” said Stalin D, director, projects at NGO Vanashakti, adding that realigning the road will help save trees.
A total of 3,027 trees that form a canopy along the 20-km Shirsad-Ambadi road in the Bhiwandi-Vasai taluka are set to be hacked to make way for the widening of the two-lane road to four lanes.
The road connects highways of Nashik, Pune and Gujarat.
This means that 150 trees will be uprooted every kilometre.
Some of the 3,000-odd trees are gulmohar, rain tree, banyan, and fruit-bearing trees such as mango, coconut and almond.
Tree felling or deforestation leads to evaporation of surface water in water bodies and soil erosion, thus affecting water quality.
Trees are vital for protection of catchment areas and maintaining carbon balance.
Environmentalists are also sceptical about the effectiveness of transplantation: “It costs a lot of money. Also, there is no guarantee that the tree will survive as uprooting can shock them and prevent them from staying alive,” said Rishi Agarwal.