In a case of sheer negligence on the part of officials from the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO), over 250 trees have died in Kharghar after an improperly conducted transplantation operation. Around six months ago, over 300 trees in the Kharghar node of Navi Mumbai were cut by CIDCO, to make way for the ongoing metro construction project. However, most of these trees were found to be dead after what appears to be CIDCO’s failure in utilizing a proper technique during transplanting.
Last December, a CIDCO survey identified 827 trees affecting the progress of Phase-I of the Metro rail project in Navi Mumbai. Hence, the developmental body decided to cut 198 trees and transplant the remaining 629. Since December, CIDCO has transplanted over 300 trees in various parts of Kharghar. When this reporter visited these parts to see status of the transplanted trees, most of these trees were found dead.
Incidentally, CIDCO did not appoint any expert or consultant to carry out the transplantation by prescribed methods. When contacted, T R Kamble, who was the horticulture officer during the time of transplantation said, “We had given the work to the contractors of metro project and they were supposed to carry out the transplantation properly. As I am retired now, I cannot say much about it.”
Since no prescribed method was used for the transplantation, most of these trees were damaged before the re-plantation. “The contractors simply dug out the trees, chopped their branches and replanted them. However, no proper care was taken during transportation of these trees, that led to damage to vital parts and their consequent deaths,” said a CIDCO official, requesting anonymity.
Botanists have also expressed concerns over the death of the trees due to negligence. Swapna Prabhu, botanist with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), said “Transplantation of trees is a tedious and complex process, since even a little negligence in following the prescribed guidelines will lead to death of transplanted trees. It is unfortunate that over 250 transplanted trees have died.”
The other side
Avinash Munjewar, recently appointed as horticulture officer of CIDCO, said, “I have asked for a report from the contractors on the status of the transplanted trees. A proper action will be taken after we receive the report, in which contractors will be asked to plant more trees as compensation.”