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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Only one tree axed for Balewadi smart city road plan in Pune, 12 replanted: contractor

Members of NGOs, met Balewadi corporator Amol Balwadkar and raised concerns related to tree cutting for new concrete road from Laxmi Mata temple to Balewadi

pune Updated: Nov 14, 2019 16:28 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
The median where the axed tree stood.
The median where the axed tree stood.(HT PHOTO)

The Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL) officials faced opposition from residents over reports of tree cutting by the contractor working on the Dassera chowk to Laxmimata Mandir road project. The trees line the median of the road.

On Tuesday, Baner Balewadi Pashan Residents Association (BBPRA) and Vasundhara Abhiyan, a non-governmental organisation working for biodiversity conservation and restoration of hills, met Balewadi corporator Amol Balwadkar and raise concerns related to tree cutting for new concrete road from Laxmi Mata temple to Balewadi (the road section next to Elite Empire Society). The smart city consultant, a member of Patil Constructions, the contractor, was also present.

“Balwadkar said that only one tree, located at the centre of the smart city road plan, was cut. He assured that no more trees will be axed. The rest of the 12 trees lining the median of the road were replanted. He said trees near Elite Empire Society wall will not be cut and existing trees will be given space for water to percolate and special tiles will be used as per the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) urban street design guidelines,” Ravindra Sinha, BBPRA representative said.

Mayur Kanke, senior surveyor of Patil Constructions and working for smart city, said, “We won’t be cutting anymore trees. We axed one tree with the permission of Pune Municipal Corporation garden department as it could not be replanted and was an hurdle for the main carriageway from Dassera chowk to Laxmimata Mandir stretch that is 24 metres wide and 800 metres long. We cut only one tree and replanted 12 trees in Sai Chowk and some near the Mula river with the help of garden department.”

Balwadkar said, “The cement and rubble in median section will be removed and only native Indian species trees will be planted as per PMC Environment Survey Report 2013 guidelines.”

The corporator and residents plan to follow up with another meeting with the contractor for tree plantation over the weekend to ensure local species suitable for the ecology and biodiversity are planted.