FIRs to be lodged against those concretising bases of trees in Mumbai

In a bid to stop concretisation, which has killed many trees in the city, BMC’s Garden department has warned other departments, asking them to ensure there is space around the base of trees when carrying out work

Taking serious note of trees dying due to concretisation near their roots, the civic Garden department has warned all other departments of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently, to ensure there is enough space around the base of trees.

The bases of three trees near Sigma Estate in Prabhadevi are packed with paver blocks. Concretisation or packing of paver blocks around their bases prevents trees from getting water, and kills them
The bases of three trees near Sigma Estate in Prabhadevi are packed with paver blocks. Concretisation or packing of paver blocks around their bases prevents trees from getting water, and kills them

The department has also told officials to give prior information before any work like road repairs, paver blocks on footpaths, trenching is carried out near trees. The department has also told junior tree officers to register FIRs against those found to be concretising the base of trees.

Last year, the BMC had sent a letter to various departments like Road, Development Plan, etc, asking them not to carry out concrete work near bases of trees, because trees don’t get water and start dying.

“At many places during road work, repairing of footpaths with paver blocks, building construction etc, the bases of trees are completely concretised. Despite our letter, there were cases where tree bases were concretised,” said Vijay Hire, superintendent, Garden department.

He added, “Now we have issued another notice to various departments about the concretisation. Before starting any work, these departments are expected to inform the Junior Tree Officers (JTO) of wards. But many of them are still not following the rules. Thus I have instructed JTOs to lodge an FIR against those found concretising the base of trees.”

Trees near Bakari Adda in Chinchpokli and near King’s Circle station have died because of the concrete around their base. Recently, the National Green Tribunal had asked the corporation to remove concrete or paver blocks from around the base of trees. After this order, the BMC has begun removing the concrete.

But while the civic body claims they have removed concrete from around the base of many trees, several places show otherwise. At Sayani Road, Prabhadevi, for instance, in front of Sigma Estate, the bases of three trees have been completely packed with paver blocks. Such trees begin withering and die for lack of water. When told about the trees in Prabhadevi, Hire said, “I will ask the ward office to take action.”

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