Residents in Mumbai hold ground, save 313 trees from civic body’s axe
During a public hearing on August 8 at BMC’s garden department, residents said that the trees on the 6.1km-stretch need not be cut, as the work on the stretch had been completed four months ago.Updated: Sep 07, 2018 00:35 IST
After residents objected to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) proposal to cut around 313 trees on the 6.1 km stretch of the LBS Marg from Vikroli station to Sonapur, Bhandup for infrastructure work, BMC had to back track its proposal.
During a public hearing on August 8 at BMC’s garden department, residents said that the trees on the 6.1km-stretch need not be cut, as the work on the stretch had been completed four months ago. The garden department has now sent the proposal back for review to the road department.
The trees were proposed to be cut by the road department for laying storm water drains, as they came in alignment of laying the pipeline. Although the mapping for trees started from 2015, the public notice to cut the trees was put out only in August 2, this year. However, locals said that the work had been completed in June this year.
On August 6, HT had reported that public suggestions and objections needed to be filed at the garden department to save 383 trees, which were marked to be cut for various works on this road, out of which, 313 were to be cut for the roads department’s work. Following the news, locals filed their objections and suggestions to the garden department on August 8, where they pointed out flaws in the plan.
Snehal Basrur, a home-maker, who lives in Kanjurmarg, said, “The bus stop is on the same line and so are the utilities, but the BMC does not want to remove those. BMC recently laid the pipelines. There is no need to cut these trees, now that the work is over. While work on one side is over without cutting trees, the BMC should explore the option of doing the same on the other side.”
The trees are located right outside the Naval Civilian Housing colony and now, locals are trying to persuade the Naval officials to join their fight and force BMC to back track on their proposal.
A junior engineer of the contractor, who did the work, said, “When the trees were not removed, we diverted the route of the pipelines. Not even a single tree has been cut as of now.”
Zoru Bhathena, a tree activist, had written a letter to BMC on September 3, pointing out the flaws in the plan and stated that as the work has been completed, there was no need to cut trees anymore. “The garden department put out the public notice on August 2, but the work has already been completed. This indicates that the garden department did not conduct any on-site inspection, but blindly approved the proposal sent by them for public reviews. It is the job of the garden department to go through each tree, which the concerned department has said is coming in their way,” he said.
Jeetendra Pardeshi, superintendent of the Garden Department, said, “Post the hearing, we have sent back the proposal to the road department to revise it. We have not received any reply from them, but if the work has been completed and there is no need to cut those trees, we will not cut them. As garden department, our aim is to save each and every tree, which need not be cut.”
Dilip Pawar sub-engineer, Roads Department of S ward, Bhandup, said, “I was on leave for a few days, so I do not know that the proposal has been re-sent. Before sending any proposal to the garden department, we check every tree. The work for the drains stretch is still pending and as of yet, we have not cut a single tree, but diverted pipelines.”