MMRC axes 55 trees in Worli to make way for new station

In hush-hush affair, MMRC axes 55 trees on Dr E Moses Road to make way for new station

A private company hired by MMRDA chopped at least 55 trees last night. Work is expected to continue today. Pics/ Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Worli residents woke up to a grim sight this morning, when they found that an entire road stretch had been wiped of its green cover. At least 55 trees on Dr E Moses Road were cut down last night to make way for Acharya Atre Chowk station, one of the stops for the new Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro.

Worli is known for its verdant cover, which includes coconut, banyan, peepal and Ashoka trees. Almost all the trees were over a decade old with some even having crossed over 100 years.

While the tree-cutting went on till late into the night, officials said they would continue the axing work today too. "We have all the necessary permissions to cut down the trees, so there’s no question of any illegality," said an official from the company, which was tasked with the job of cutting down the trees. "We usually carry out work during the night to avoid any traffic disruption or unnecessary interruption from residents," the official added. The chopped wood will be sent to a nearby crematorium.

Another official, on condition of anonymity, said that at least 15 trees near Mahalaxmi racecourse would also be axed for the ongoing metro project.

Residents, who had been opposing the chopping of trees, were upset with the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation’s decision to uproot the trees. Hemant Salvi, a local resident, said, "Most of the trees here are at least 50 to 100 years old. The trees played an important role in keeping the place cool during the summer. We want to know whether the authorities are going to replant these trees."

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