In a bid to ensure the city’s green cover is not depleted and clear records are maintained, the civic body’s tree authority committee has decided to make it compulsory for parties seeking permissions to cut trees, from infrastructure projects to private housing complexes, to submit video footage of its replantation and transplantation along with the requisite paperwork.
“We want to ensure better accountability in the procedure of the replantation and transplantation of cut trees. Thus, we have decided to ask for the video footage of trees being cut and the procedure thereafter of two trees being replanted or the cut tree being transplanted at the designated spot,” said Rajiv Jalota, additional municipal commissioner.
The committee, which met on Friday, also decided to not grant any additional tree-cutting permission to the Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority (MMRDA) for its high-capacity monorail project, which has already cost the city a major portion of its green cover, until clear reports were furnished.
“So far, no clear records of the trees that were replanted or transplanted because of the high-capacity project have been submitted,” said Ameet Satam, tree authority member. “Thus, the committee has decided to grant further permissions to the project only after written records and video footages are submitted.”
On Friday, committee members held back the permissions for the cutting of around 500 trees for several projects planned at the domestic and international airport, Harbour line route between Oshiwara and Malad, and widening of the Mithi river. The members claimed that they would grant permissions only after they are allowed to personally inspect the spots along with media representatives.
“We have been blamed for not being objective while granting permissions. Thus, we asked the civic body to allow us to visit the spots before granting permissions,” said Dnyanraj Nikam, a tree authority member.
However, senior civic authorities said they would not accompany the members for the visit. “Since we don’t want to set a precedent to permit all members to visit all the spots every time proposals are submitted, we will not accompany them,” said Jalota.