Metro II line work underway at Charkhop. PIC/SHADAB KHAN
Mumbai: Hold off celebrating the BMC’s rejection of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC)’s proposal on cutting down 2,298 trees in Aarey Milk Colony for a Metro III car depot. Over 460 trees may be chopped to make way for the Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro corridor (Metro II-A).
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is constructing Metro II-A, recently approached the BMC’s Tree Authority, seeking permission to clear 465 trees in R North (325) and R Central wards (140). While in R North, 250 of the trees may have to go for widening and improvement of Hans Burga Road, in R Central, they may have to make way for elevated viaducts of Metro stations.
The BMC issued a public notice yesterday, asking for feedback on the proposal in seven days. The junior tree officer of R Central ward, said most of the trees proposed to face the chopping block in the ward are along Link Road, stretching from Borivli. "In seven days, citizens can approach us with objections, if any, and the same have to be sent to the gardens department. After receiving the objections, a public hearing will be organised before the Tree Authority and a final decision taken."
Dilip Kawatkar, MMRDA joint project director, was unavailable for comment. Last week, the Tree Authority had cleared axing of 20 trees between Kandivli and Dahisar, and two trees in Andheri for the Dahisar-Andheri Metro corridor.
‘No political will’
It’s disappointing to see trees being continuously sacrificed under the guise of development. If one were to do an honest audit of the so-called compensatory afforestation for trees lost in previous projects, it will be revealed that we have lost thousands of trees over the past decade. The lack of a political will to pledge funds for five years for the upkeep of fresh saplings is a clear pointer to tokenism. Trees maintain the ecological balance of a location. You cannot take away trees from Colaba and compensate for them by planting saplings in Dahisar.
BMC rejected plan to cut 2,298 trees at Aarey
The MMRC, which is constructing the Metro III line, had sent a proposal to the BMC Tree Authority recently, asking for permission to cut 2,298 trees to build a car depot at Aarey. But every member of the Tree Authority, cutting across party lines, unanimously rejected this proposal. They asked for a more detailed presentation on how the authorities plan to compensate for the trees that would be removed.