Civic body plans to hack 18 trees, transplant one near city airport

Says they are crossing the height restrictions, invites suggestions till Sept 27
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Published on Sep 26, 2019 12:07 AM IST
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ByMehul R Thakkar, Mumbai

Amid the chaos over felling of trees at Aarey Colony, the tree authority of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to hack 18 coconut trees and transplant one around the international airport in Mumbai. Reason? The trees are very tall, surpassing the height restrictions and raising security concerns over flight movement at the airport.

According to BMC officials, the trees are located on both public and private land in areas near the Vile Parle side of the runway.

The BMC proposed the hacking and transplant after receiving a proposal from the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) which operates and maintains the operations. The Mumbai airport is the second busiest airport in the country and witnesses a movement of over 950 flights daily. Delhi airport is the busiest with 1,200 flight movements daily.

“We have invited public suggestions and objections, and the last day for submitting them is September 27. The MIAL sent the proposal. These trees are outside the airport premises, and are taller than a few buildings located around the airport. It could pose a security threat which is why the cutting and transplantation is proposed,” a BMC official said.

“We plan to transplant only one tree as coconut trees are very tall… Transplant is not be feasible.” Construction of buildings higher than four storeys is not allowed around the runway and periphery of the airport (funnel zone). The restrictions are to ensure smooth take-offs and landings, and prevent disruption of radar signals.

MIAL did not respond to the query. “We had followed up with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that recently ordered cutting of the trees in the funnel zone. Subsequently, we had applied to the BMC,” said an official at the city airport.

An official from Air India said, “The issue was pending for three years , and the trees had grown above many of the buildings. It is causing difficulty in our operations.” A similar proposal had come up in 2015 to cut trees near Juhu beach outside the premises of the Juhu Airport which acts as a secondary airport.

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