The lane that leads to Parel and Elphinstone Road railways stations from Senapati Bapat Marg is being paved to prevent the stretch from being water logged in the rains, as directed by the Western Railways (WR).
The work has been on for nearly a fortnight and concrete is been poured around tree trunks lining the path. This is in complete disregard of the rules that say the space around tree trunk should be free of concrete. Also, a tree has nearly been uprooted but it is not clear if it is owing to the ongoing work.
Another tree near the overhead bridge is branching out of a concrete slab, which was placed a few months ago, say workers at the site.
“The National Green Tribunal (NGT) order is being violated and action needs to be taken. The insensitivity of the government towards conserving trees continues as we find that wherever roadwork is on, construction material is dumped at the roots of the trees,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director, of NGO Vanashakti.
When this was pointed out to Govind Sharma, assistant engineer, works (south-Lower Parel), Western Railway, he said, “We have taken cognisance of the situation. I will go to the spot tomorrow and ask the contractor to remove all construction material away from the trees. We will not let the trees be affected.”
When asked about concrete being poured at the base of the trees, he added, "Once I reach the spot, we will see what can be done about it."
Meanwhile, Stalin said a lot of care needs to be taken during construction to protect the trees. "The construction material has to be removed manually without the use of machines to prevent further damage. Also, all junction boxes and joints must be kept away from the tree so that the roots are not affected," added Stalin.
In January this year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the Brihanmumbai Municpal Corporation (BMC) to remove concrete within a radius of one metre around tree trunks and ensure that no construction or repair work is done in that space. This order followed Mumbai-based NGO Vanashakti’s application for removal of all concrete bases from the roots of the trees across the city.