Aundh residents up in arms against tree felling
HT had reported on November 2, about the move from the MLA to clear the remains of the tree. Shivajinagar MLA Vijay Kale, however, said his intention to clear the stems were only to widen the road to reduce congestion.pune Updated: Nov 08, 2017 16:11 IST
The Area Sabha Association of Pune Members (ASAP), on Tuesday, called for a meet with a local MLA to discuss the future of the remaining trees and his plans for the Raj Bhavan road.
The citizens of Aundh, Baner, Shivajinagar sought justification from Shivajinagar MLA Vijay Kale about his remarks to uproot the stems of the 150-year-old banyan tree. “Despite writing to the Tree Authority and appealing not to axe any more trees, the roots were cut illegally,” said Vaishali Patkar, convenor of ASAP.
HT had reported on November 2, about the move from the MLA to clear the remains of the tree. Kale, however, said his intention to clear the stems were only to widen the road to reduce congestion.
“My concern is to hear the pleas of the residents of Aundh who have been complaining about being stuck in traffic at the University chowk for hours because of the bottleneck and all I wanted to do was clear the corner where there is traffic jam. When the trees were cut, what was left was trunks then, why not clear it for easing traffic on this road.”
But then, architect Makrand Shende, member of Green Pune, intervened and informed Kale that even that step taken by him was illegal as it is going against the rules laid down by the Tree Authority. “We had suggested many solutions for traffic, as well as keeping the trees intact, but nothing was followed. Members present suggested that the municipal commissioner should at least meet with the residents and hear them out, instead of taking the projects ahead without public intervention,” Shende said.
Sathya Narayan, a resident said, “We feel that there is no transparency in the way the things are planned and executed. Also, it seems that the departments and the local politicians do not honour the rules laid down by the Tree Authority.”
Another resident from Bhosalenagar, Hema Chari, asked how wide would the Raj Bhavan road be as proposed in the new Development Plan (DP). The present road is 36 metres wide, but in the proposed DP, it is being shown as 42 metres. “So does that mean more trees will be felled?” questioned Chari.
“First of all, being a public figure, Kale should be working for the public as well as the law. They are to represent the law as well and he should also honour the laws. As of now, Kale has said he will speak to the commissioner and follow up with our questions. This project is made in such a hurry when it was not needed to race against time, thus wasting public money. This is a major concern,” said Shende.