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BMC investigates mysterious killings of rain trees in Mumbai

After mid-day reported allegations by green activists that a rain tree in Malad (West) had been killed with a chemical injection, allegedly for wood, BMC has directed its officials to look into the matter

Members of the Standing Committee in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have raised the issue of dying rain trees in the city. In a meeting yesterday, authorities demanded strict action against the culprits who poisoned and killed a Malad rain tree on Sunday, an incident this paper had reported.


CRUEL intentions: Ashtekar had alleged that the tree had been killed systematically with a chemical injection, so it could be harvested for wood. PICS/Sameer Markande 

On Sunday, Kshitij Ashtekar, a senior manager at Accenture, who has been constantly surveying rain trees in the city, noticed a dying tree near the Kach Pada bus stop on the Link Road in Malad (West). A hole had been drilled into it, and a chemical injected into its bark. Ashtekar reported the matter to civic officials, who asked him to lodge an FIR with the police.

BJP’s Dilip Patel raised the issue in the committee meeting, demanding stricter action against the guilty men. “BMC should first conduct a forensic test on the tree to know the exact chemical that was inserted. They should also amend the law so that the culprit gets maximum punishment,” said Patel.

Another member Vinod Shelar, who is the chairman of the education committee of the BMC, added, “We can breathe easily because the city has a national park and the Aarey Milk Colony. So, green cover should be increased for our future. The BMC garden department should take the initiative to save trees.”

BMC speak
Yashodhar Phanse, chairman of standing committee, has asked administration to look into the matter and do the needful. Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner who attended the meeting, assured that detailed information would be given on the issue in the next meeting.

Ashtekar, while happy with the response, said ward officials should act to curb the menace at the local level.

Copspeak

An FIR in the matter has been registered with the Bangur Nagar police station. “A case has been lodged under the Maharashtra Preservation of Trees Act,1975 and investigations are ongoing,” said the senior police inspector at the station. 

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