Don’t cut trees during lockdown, activist tells Mumbai civic corporationUpdated: Jul 03, 2020 02:01 IST
A Mumbai-based environmentalist wrote to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) urging the civic body to stop the cutting of trees till the Covid-19 outbreak is over, as citizens cannot lodge their objections owing to travel restrictions.
Activist Kunal Birwadkar said there are restrictions on travelling beyond 2km, and no citizen can visit the site concerned to raise suggestions or objections over tree cutting. Thus, the BMC should not issue notices for cutting of trees during this period, and stop plans to axe trees till the outbreak is over.
“Common citizens are locked inside their homes and are under the continuous threat of the Covid-19 outbreak. In such a situation, the BMC has issued multiple tree-cutting notices from June, for which citizens are called, to submit their objections (if any). However, due to the state-wide lockdown, citizens are incapacitated to move out of their homes and visit the site to inspect the trees,” Birwadkar said in his letter to the BMC.
As per rules, the civic body has to seek suggestions and objections from citizens before permitting tree cutting for any project.
“Citizens are not allowed in BMC ward offices to inspect the proposal documents. Due to the lockdown many citizens are even unaware of the tree cutting notices,” the letter further added.
Since June 6, the civic body started issuing public notices for cutting trees in the city, around three months after it put up the last public notice on the issue, on March 18.
Birwadkar said, “There is no scope to conduct visits to the site as there are restrictions of travelling beyond 2-km stretch, and under such a scenario, the BMC should not propose tree cutting or issue public notices for it. No trees should be cut during this period. If the BMC does so, I will be forced to move court.”
However, civic officials said that there cannot be restrictions put on cutting of trees or on trimming owing to monsoon.
“Many trees are proposed for developmental works, and in many cases it is necessary to cut trees or their branches, considering they may fall off anytime during monsoon. Hence, such a restriction cannot be made,” a BMC official said.
Jitendra Pardeshi, chief of BMC’s garden department, was not available for comment despite repeated attempts.