The biogas plant construction project of the civic body in Kharadi has claimed at least 15 trees near the plot where the unit is proposed, say residents from a nearby society.
Residents of the area have been opposing the biogas plant on a three-acre plot near Eon IT Park selected by the PMC last month for the garbage-processing unit. The biogas plant is to be set up at a cost of Rs 90 lakh on the plot, which was reserved for a garden according to the original town planning proposal.
Residents from societies in the vicinity, including Ganga Constella and Gera Emerald, have been opposing the project as they claim that the plant will not only destroy the biodiversity of the place but will also release methane gas and stench, which could be detrimental to their health. They say the biogas plant will also result in pollution of groundwater.
The plant is supposed to be built for conversion of waste into electricity for the area, which the PMC says will be of benefit to the residents.
“Even though we have been opposing the project, some of
the trees were found uprooted, which is a criminal act. We will file an FIR against such destruction of environment,” said Arvind Kuashal, a resident of Ganga Constella.
The residents claimed that the plot had mango, peepul, and chickoo trees which were more than 25 years old.
“We are also contemplating filing an RTI query and a PIL over the illegal construction of the plant and have already complained to the commissioner about this environmental destruction,” said Laxmi B, another resident.
According to the garden department rules, any tree which is chopped illegally should be replanted in the same place.
Instead of setting up a biogas plant, residents suggest the PMC make vermi-composting mandatory in all hotels, malls and commercial buildings in the area, which will take care of the garbage.
It was earlier reported that a similar proposal to set up a plant at Panchvati Hill was scrapped by the PMC after residents intervened and cited the environmental damage the project would cause.
PMC to meet residents
Deputy Municipal Comm-issioner Suresh Jagtap said he was not aware of any destruction of trees.
“We have not yet decided about the plant since the residents have been opposing it. We’ll however show them other plants across the city which are functioning well and only if they are satisfied will we go ahead with the plan,” Jagtap said.
Garden Superintendent of PMC, Naresh Zurmure did not respond to calls despite repeated attempts to contact him.