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BMC puts proposal to chop 506 trees on hold

Members of the BMC’s Tree Authority stalled the plan to cut the trees for several development projects, saying clearances would be given only after visits to the concerned spots were made by the committee

A proposal to cut more than 500 trees in the city for development projects was put on hold yesterday by members of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Tree Authority.

Opposing members of the Tree Authority demanded that the municipal commissioner make site visits to gauge the ecological impact of chopping the trees. Representational pic
Opposing members of the Tree Authority demanded that the municipal commissioner make site visits to gauge the ecological impact of chopping the trees. Representational pic

The opposition to the proposals began with members from the Shiv Sena, and was supported by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members. They demanded that before the proposal to chop the trees was cleared, the committee make site visits to gauge the ecological impact of the action.

On Friday, there were about 10 proposals concerning about 1,000 trees — including the removal of 497 trees and transplantation of others. Transplantation of trees entails uprooting trees from one area and planting them in another.

Sena members of the authority were strongly opposed to these plans. Yashodhar Phanse, chairman of the civic Standing Committee, who is also a member of the Tree Authority said, “We have received many complaints regarding rampant cutting of trees, which is harmful for the ecological balance. So, we will take care when the proposal asks for our sanction to cut the trees.”

Phanse also demanded that Sitaram Kunte, the municipal commissioner, who also heads the Tree Authority, visit the spots where the proposal demands the uprooting of more than 50 trees. “There were 10 proposals on the agenda and only 2-3 have been cleared.

These involved cutting one or two trees. Other proposals were stalled,” said Dilip Lande, another member of the Tree Authority and a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena corporator. Opposing members made their displeasure clear even at the bids to transplant trees, saying there was no data on whether the trees survived after being re-planted in another area.

Another member, the BJP’s Niranjan Shetty, explained, “Many a time, the authority comes to us with proposals to transplant, say, 50 trees. But the BMC’s Garden department has no clue how many of these trees survive later. They keep mum on this front.”

The locations
Chembur: 231
Dadar (East): 107
Ghatkopar: 91
Malad: 27
Gandhi Nagar, Bandra: 22 
Pali Hill, Bandra: 21
Kurla: 5
Dadar (West): 2

BMC Commissioner says
"Members of the committee have discussed the issue and decided to visit the spot in case there are many trees. Hence, we will visit the site and then decide on the course of action,” said Sitaram Kunte, municipal commissioner and chairperson of the Tree Authority.

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