Officials mum on which 685 trees will make way for Pune Metro
Maha Metro asks RTI applicant to obtain details from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) as project report for Pune Metro was prepared by DMRCpune Updated: Oct 29, 2017 17:29 IST
Although preliminary construction work has begun on the two corridors of the Pune Metro project, the Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (Maha Metro) is still not ready with details of the location of the approximately 685 trees that will have to be chopped for the project.
In a series of RTI replies to environment activist Subhash Devare, Maha-Metro has reproduced the information presented by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRC) which prepared the DPR (Detailed Project Report) for the Pune Metro project in 2014.
The DPR clearly states that “Due to the proposed metro construction about 685 mature trees are likely to be lost.”
Apart from failing to provide the location of these trees, Maha-Metro, in its RTI reply, also failed to explain the total cost of the trees pegged at ₹8.22 lakh, which, Devare said is grossly undervalued at ₹1,200 per mature tree.
While speaking to HT, Devare explained: “I went through Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Pune Metro. It gives exact locations of the stations and corridors. It is therefore highly unlikely that the exact locations of the piers and structures and therefore the trees are not known.”
He had sought the details to ensure transparency about the cutting down of the trees and their eventual sale.
On April 19, 2017 Devare asked in his RTI query: “Please indicate the exact location of these 685 trees and their record as per Tree Census carried out by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Please indicate the location along the proposed Metro route on relevant Google Maps.”
In its replies on May 16 2017 and June 17, Maha Metro said, “It is again reiterated that 685 trees is only an indicative number which is provided in the DPR by DMRC. No such Google Map is available with this office.”
Maha Metro stated that “maximum care would be taken by the contractors to avoid any tree cutting” even as the precise number of trees to be cut would be decided “after exact location of piers and structures are planned by the contractors.”
Maha Metro failed to provide a time schedule when the trees would be cut, while stating that for very large trees, options include the transplanting of trees and the fresh planting of five to 10 trees for every tree cut. “Land for tree planting is already being indentified and with the onset of monsoons, this activity would be initiated by the Metro,” the reply said.
In its reply on May 16, it said that no approval had been obtained from the PMC’s Tree Officer “as yet” for tree cutting.
When pointed out that the DPR does not mention “average cost of one tree” and the basis for calculating the total cost of 685 trees at ₹8.22 lakh, Maha Metro replied: “Information not available in this organisation” (sic) and that “DPR approved by DMRC, hence same can be taken from them.”
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Devare, who is a senior HRD facilitator and consultant, said it was most disappointing that Maha Metro was not being transparent with the public about the location of the trees that would be lost for the Metro project, and the average value of the trees.