Aarey tree felling: Reconsider your decision to resign, BMC to experts

Civic officials say BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi yet to accept the resignations
Mumbai, India - Sept. 8, 2019: People participated a protest for metro car shed at Aarey colony in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, September 8, 2019. (Photo by Satyabrata Tripathy/Hindustan Times)(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India - Sept. 8, 2019: People participated a protest for metro car shed at Aarey colony in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, September 8, 2019. (Photo by Satyabrata Tripathy/Hindustan Times)(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 09, 2019 12:11 AM IST
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Mumbai | ByMehul Thakkar, Mumbai

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked two experts from the tree authority, who resigned in the backdrop of the backlash over voting in favour of cutting 2,185 trees in Aarey Colony for Metro-3 car shed, to reconsider their decision.

Shashirekha Sureshkumar, associate professor and head of department of botany, Mithibai College and Chandrakant Salunkhe, scientist from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre resigned from the 18-member tree authority last week. “They tendered their resignation from the post of BMC’s tree authority, of which municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi is the chairman. The resignation procedure is completed only after acceptance of the resignation. Pardeshi is yet to do it,” said a BMC official.

Shashirekha told HT, “I had resigned a week ago, and now have received an email from the BMC commissioner to reconsider the resignation. Along with me, another member Chandrakant Salunkhe who also resigned has been requested to reconsider. I have not reconsidered it yet because a lot of things were thrown at me, which are not correct. It is difficult to work because we are being disregarded, while we are trying to do genuine work.”

Salunkhe could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, while a text message sent to Pardeshi did not yield any response till the time of going to press.

The BMC’s tree authority comprises five external experts and corporators from the BJP (4), Shiv Sena (6), Congress (2) and NCP (1). The tree authority gave its nod for felling 2,646 trees – 2,185 to be cut and 461 to be transplanted on August 29. Of the 18 members, eight voted for the proposal, six voted against it, two abstained and two were absent. A day later, two of the three experts, who voted in favour of cutting the trees, said they were not aware that their vote was for approving the proposal. While Sureshkumar claimed the process was wrong and she was confused about the meeting’s proceedings as they happened in Marathi, Salunkhe said the entire process was rushed. The remaining two expert members who were not present at the meeting were Manohar Sawant, PhD physical chemistry, and Deepak Apte, director, Bombay Natural History Society.

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