309 trees in Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary cut without assessment study, says Pune’s civic body
In yet another incident highlighting the blatant neglect of the civic officials in regards to preserving the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in the city, the officials have now admitted of cutting 309 trees without conducting an assessment study inside the sanctuary.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials have accepted their fault during a meeting held between the officials and the Save Salim Ali bird sanctuary group.
While Ganesh Sonawane, PMC tree officer did not respond to calls, a senior official from the PMC tree authority requesting anonymity said, “Assessment study before the tree cutting was mandatory, however, it was not done by the department. We will now transplant all the 309 trees at a different location within the premises of the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary before cutting more trees for road construction.”
According to the official, the environmental assessment study was not done because the government has not declared the biodiversity park as a sanctuary.
The senior official further added “Considering the opposition from the citizens, we will conduct the assessment study and only then go ahead with the construction”.
Accusing the civic officials of deliberately neglecting the preservation of the bird sanctuary, activist Sameer Nikam, a resident of Kalyaninagar said, “This particular road was a part of the Development Plan (DP) made in 1987. It is mandatory for the officials to conduct the assessment study; however, it was conveniently skipped by them resulting into cutting of 309 trees.”
The PMC has undertaken the construction of one kilometre of road from HSBC towers in Kalyaninagar to the Gunjan chowk, Yerwada which will pass through the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary causing a major damage to one of the most important green belts of the city.
Despite a strong opposition from the citizens the work is already in progress, so far a total of 309 trees have been cut by the PMC, while another 350 trees will be cut in the sanctuary for the construction of the road.
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