ALMs to keep an eye on trees

After seeing a spate of tree cuttings in the area by miscreants, H-Ward activists volunteer to keep vigil on recently planted saplings in Bandra

In an novel initiative to curb the menace of tree felling, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will now be assisted by residents living in the vicinity of H-West ward, Bandra to look out for persons  chopping down trees.

The need to employ these measures stem from fears that recently planted trees by BMC might be uprooted or hacked by shopkeepers and hawkers.

On high alert: In addition to the BMC, even locals would be keeping a
close watch on the planted saplings. representation pic

It had been noticed that branches of trees and sometimes even full-grown trees had been hacked by miscreants in the area. This trend of unrestrained cutting had motivated the residents of the area to approach the civic body.

According to BMC officials, in addition to them [BMC] maintaining a vigil, residents of the area would help in keeping a close watch on the trees.

"We were informed that shop owners and hawkers used to cut down trees and branches obstructing their shops or establishments. We complained to the local police station, but to no avail," said a BMC official from the garden department of H-West Ward.

Aftab Siddiqui, an activist, said, "Some of the saplings planted on Linking Road have been uprooted. If the BMC gives residents permission and authority to look after the trees planted outside their building, they would be vigilant."

"Many trees have been poisoned and killed by people with vested interests, but now we won't let that happen. I have asked for a map of the planted trees with their locations to be distributed to every building so they they can avert any illegal hacking," he added.

Two weeks back 25 saplings of different species of plants were planted by BMC along the streets in the area to counter illegal hacking of trees.

MiD DAY had reported ('Civic body embarks on green drive', December 4) how officials from H-West ward had planted saplings as an answer to the illegal hacking of trees and branches at Linking Road and
S V Road in the ward that stretches from Bandra to Santacruz. 

 "The local ALMs and residents had approached us to give details of the saplings planted and how to take care of them. As the residents live closer to the trees, it would help in keeping an eye on the culprits. Although we are optimistic that these saplings would be left intact, we want to plant more trees," said the civic official.

S Dhamane, assistant municipal commissioner of H West Ward said, "Officials from the garden department have begun planting saplings on Linking Road. And it would be seen that they aren't removed."

However, he further added that since numerous construction projects would be undertaken in the area, no new trees would be planted.

Meanwhile, a shop owner on the condition of anonymity said, "The trees have been planted in such a way that they come in the way of people. Hawkers would be the first ones to remove them [saplings] rather than shop owners."

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