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Civic body’s tree authority may have only 1 expert member soon

By Mehul Thakkar, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON NOV 27, 2019 11:57 PM IST

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) tree authority (TA) may soon have just one expert as the Shiv Sena has opposed re-appointing the two expert members who had voted in favour of cutting trees at Aarey Milk Colony for the Metro-3 (Colaba-Seepz) car shed.

Two other expert members were disqualified on Wednesday owing to their absence.

There are a total of 18 members in the TA, of which 13 are corporators and the remaining five must be experts.

“There are talks to get back the two resigned members in the TA, but this cannot happen. They have resigned and both the seats can be filled after undertaking fresh application procedures,” said Yashwant Jadhav, Shiv Sena corporator and TA member.

A BMC official said that there was no provision for re-appointing members if they have resigned. “Once the member resigns, his tenure comes to an end,” he said.

Three of the experts on the panel had voted in favour of cutting over 2,000 trees for the construction of a car depot for Metro-3 at Aarey Colony in August. Following a war of words between the Sena and the experts in question, two of them, namely Shashirekha Sureshkumar, associate professor and head of the department of botany, Mithibai College; and Chandrakant Salunkhe, scientist from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), had resigned in September.

However, in October, both recalled their resignations and asked to be allowed to re-join the TA.

More recently, on Wednesday, two other expert members, Manohar Sawant and Deepak Apte, were disqualified after they were absent for three consecutive TA meetings. The only remaining expert member is Subhash Patne.

“Now, considering there are four vacant posts, we will have to call for fresh applications, and they will be shortlisted and sent to the TA for approval,” said a BMC official.

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