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Promoters evade inquiry about trees

mumbai Updated: Nov 20, 2010 01:59 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times
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Wanting to put an end to the civic body’s inquiry into the transplantation of trees from Kukri Park, the promoters of Adarsh Housing Society refused to reveal the location where the trees had been ‘transplanted’.

They told the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that the trees had been transplanted to a strategically sensitive location, from a security point of view, and hence couldn’t be disclosed.

This revelation came a day after the Hindustan Times reported on how top defence officials misused their position at the United Services Club by writing to the civic body, offering to transplant 134 trees that stood where Adarsh now stands.

This offer from the club then helped the society get a clearance from the Tree Authority, which issued permissions to transplant 78 of the trees. The US Club, however, has now said there was no record of such a letter ever being written.

The BMC has sent a notice to the society’s consultants asking them to show the exact spot where the trees have supposedly been transplanted.

Chandrashekhar Rokade, deputy municipal commissioner (gardens) said: “We had written to the society on previous occasions as well. In response, the society told us that the trees had been transplanted to a sensitive location, which couldn’t be disclosed. We found this absurd and hence have issued them (society and consultants) a final notice.”

In response to an RTI query, the US Club had agreed that they had no record of the number of trees transplanted. “Only some of the trees survived the (transplantation) procedure and are existing. No formal records are available on as to the number received/transplanted.”

A member of the Tree Authority, on condition of anonymity, said: “We are pretty sure that the trees were not transplanted. However, if they fail to respond to our notice, then we might decide to prosecute them.”

Retd Brigadier MM Wanchu, president of Adarsh society, said the secretary of the society, RC Thakur, should be contacted for comments. The latter refused to respond to calls or messages.