Old trees in Thane may get heritage tag
Old and rare trees in Thane may soon be saved from being hacked for construction projects, as the heritage committee of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has decided to notify such trees.
The committee will finalise the policy on heritage trees, list around 20-25 trees in the city, and send it for approval to the state government by October. The committee claims that Thane will be the first city in the state to notify trees as heritage.
Last week, several environmentalists in Thane had alleged that a city-based developer had partially destroyed a 300-year-old Banyan tree in Kolshet. They had demanded that such old trees need to be preserved as they are party of the city’s heritage.
The heritage committee in a recent meeting took up the issue of conservation of these trees.
Suresh Surve, chairman of the committee, said, “We have a policy on heritage structures along with a list of heritage structures in the city. However, there is no such policy or list for heritage trees.” The committee has shortlisted 20 to 25 such trees, which includes Banyan, Peepul, and rare type of tamarind and rudraksha trees found in the city.
Civic commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal said that if the heritage committee has recommended notifying heritage trees, the corporation would “definitely do it”.
The issue of preserving old and rare tress was first taken up by Thane based senior environmentalist Punam Singvi in the mid2000s.
Singvi said trees like Banyan or Peepul have a huge crown, as a result of which they fall prey to developers. “The growth of these trees is stunted due to development projects. The branches and aerial roots are trimmed as they obstruct the project. The tree then gradually dies and is declared dangerous and has to be cut off. This is the usual modus operandi seen in the city. Thus, the heritage status is important to protect these trees.”
Explaining how a tree will be classified as heritage, Surve said, “We will first need to establish the parameters on which to base these trees as heritage... A policy needs to be formulated on notification of heritage trees. We will finalise this policy and the list by October and send it to the state government for approval”.
Surve said that while heritage trees have been notified in Delhi and Mysore, no such list exists in Maharashtra. “Thane will be the first city in the state to notify its heritage trees. We will put up signages along the trees so that no developmental project will be permitted near these trees,” he said.