Metro 3 in Mumbai: Trees are not being planted properly at Aarey Colony, say activists
Trees removed for transplantation from Metro III construction sites at Aarey Milk Colony may not survive because they have not been replanted in the right way, said environmental groups.
The Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ metro project will affect 2,811 trees , of which 1,727 will be transplanted and 1,074 will be axed. According to Maharashtra (Urban Areas) and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, three new saplings have to be planted for every tree being felled. A tree can also be transplanted to some other place. Additionally, the rule says that five trees can be planted along a 100 sq m stretch.
“We found that 16 trees had been planted along a 100 sq m stretch violating the state act. The new trees were seven inches in girth as opposed to rules that deem 12 inch girth for each plantation. Also, some trees were carefully transplanted but most of them did not have branches or leaves. In such a case, the tree goes into shock,” said Zoru Bathena, Khar resident. “There is a procedure that needs to be to be followed and this should not be done hurriedly.”
Over 3,000 trees need to be planted for the Metro III project.
A survey by a Bombay high court (HC)-appointed committee and Bathena on Thursday revealed that close to 300 saplings had been planted and 50 trees had been transplanted so far by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRC) at a spot, which is half a kilometre away from the Aarey picnic spot. The trees are being planted to compensate for the trees felled for the metro project.
On May 18, the Supreme Court dismissed a special leave petition and upheld the HC order to axe trees for 27 metro stations. MMRC contractors began cutting trees and expects to complete it before monsoon sets in.
Bathena added that the grievances were pointed out before the HC committee. “They asked me to submit the grievances with a senior committee, which would hear the matter.”
Metro officials said that they were following the law. “MMRC is following all the conditions put down by the Tree Authority for plantation and transplantation” said a spokesperson from the MMRC.