Pune Municipal Corporation permission for green cover loss: 6,139 trees razed in 2018-19 - Hindustan Times

Pune Municipal Corporation permission for green cover loss: 6,139 trees razed in 2018-19

Hindustan Times, Pune | ByParth Welankar
Aug 05, 2019 04:51 PM IST

PMC officials justify cutting down trees in the city for development, but the civic body’s annual Environment Status Report states that air pollution levels have risen; experts attribute this to the felling of trees

A total of 6,139 trees have been cut down for infrastructure development in 2018-19 in the city, with permission from Pune Municipal Corporation.

Trees at Salim Ali Sanctuary were cut down to make way for Pune Metro.(HT/PHOTO)
Trees at Salim Ali Sanctuary were cut down to make way for Pune Metro.(HT/PHOTO)

Majority of the trees were chopped for the metro corridor and road development and expansion in the city. Some of the trees also fell for reasons such as the development of residential society and schools.

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Ganesh Sonawane, PMC tree officer said, “Permission for cutting trees is only granted on the condition which mandates that those involved, must either plant three trees in another area or undertake the transplantation of the trees. While giving permissions, we take Rs 10,000 as deposit money as well.”

According to Sonawane, teams from the tree department, visit sites where trees are planted or transplanted after two years to ensure work is done properly. Failing to do so, leaves the deposited money in the coffers of the PMC, said Sonawane.

While on one hand the civic body officials are justifying razing of trees, PMC’s annual Environment Status Report (ESR) for 2018-19 states that the air pollution level has gone up in the city.

The ESR report clearly points out uncontrolled tree cutting as one of the driving force behind the increasing pollution in the city.

Gufran Beig, project director, Safar (System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research) said, “While the other sources of pollution in the city are increasing consistently, the options of minimising the pollution is depleting significantly. Trees contribute in a major way of reducing air pollution. Cutting of trees in such huge numbers will certainly lead to increasing in the air pollution.”

Safar envisages a research-based management system where strategies of air pollution mitigation go hand in hand with the nation’s economic development to target a win-win scenario.

From February 2018-April 2019

Place: Road and footpath development by PMC in Chandnichowk

Number of Trees cut: 2399

Place: Rajas society, Katraj Chowk to Shatrunjay mandir road expansion

Number of trees cut: 490

Place: Mahalaxmi lawns to Cummins college road

Number of trees cut: 250

Place: for construction of Building department office and Fire drill training centre

Number of trees cut: 125

Place: Rajiv Gandhi Zoo, Katraj

Number of trees cut: 527

Place: New building construction at Yerwada

Number of trees cut: 135

Place: Nagar road

Number of trees cut: 74

Place: Lullanagar

Number of trees: 340

Place: Deccan college, Yerwada

Number of trees: 229

Place: SPPU

Number of trees: 127

Place: Shukravar Peth

Number of trees: 103

Place: Near Pune railway station

Number of trees: 22

Place: Pan city permissions given for residential societies

Number of trees: 1,318

Some of the reasons for tree cutting:

1) Maha-Metro corridor

2) Construction and expansion of city roads

3) Trees which created hindrances for the different construction

4) For basement constructions of various buildings

5) Trees obstructing the traffic flow

6) Old trees

7) For development of amenity spaces

8) Trees very close to residential complexes

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