Mumbai: Activists tackle concrete issue in Bandra talao beautification

They wrote to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about the concretisation of the base of the trees around the talao; he has ordered an inquiry into the matter and assured strict action

The beautification of Bandra talao, it seems, is being done at the cost of nature. The contractor appointed for the job has concretised the base of 87 trees around the lake that are over 50 years old, prompting activists to approach the chief minister for help.

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The concretisation of the bases will not allow water to reach the roots
Root of the problem: The concretisation of the bases will not allow water to reach the roots

Godfrey Pimenta, of the Watchdog Foundation and an advocate, said, “On Saturday, I was going for some work to town, and stopped by Bandra lake to see the beautification work. I was shocked when I saw the concretisation of the base of the trees. There was no space around them at all for water to pass. This will eventually kill all the trees.”

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Another activist, Nicholas Almeida, said, “These trees are the pride of Bandra. The people who are working know the concretisation will kill all the trees, but still they are doing it.”

Local resident N R Tawadi (left) and activists Godfrey Pimenta and Nicholas Almeida (sitting) at the lake. PICS/Satyajit Desai
Local resident N R Tawadi (left) and activists Godfrey Pimenta and Nicholas Almeida (sitting) at the lake. Pics/Satyajit Desai

Pimenta further said, “There are not sufficient trees in Mumbai. Trees take several years to grow so big, and officials are killing them.”

The activists then complained about the issue to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who has ordered an inquiry in the matter and assured strict action.

Pimenta told mid-day, “On Saturday itself, I complained to CM Devendra Fadnavis with pictures of these trees. On Tuesday, we received an email from the CM about an inquiry in the matter and assurance of strict action. I am happy with the CM’s prompt action, but authorities at lower levels should act and remove the concrete around the trees.”

Pimenta stated, “The National Green Tribunal’s guidelines clearly say that a minimum area of 6x6 feet around trees must be left uncemented while carpeting of pavements. Besides lack of groundwater recharge leading to alarming fall in water levels, green activists have blamed indiscriminate concretisation for the death of trees, disappearance of sparrows, haze, and increase in surface temperature, among others.”

Residentspeak
N R Tawadi (71), a local resident who was questioning the contractors about the concretisation when this reporter reached the spot, said, “I have been residing in Bandra since 1954. When I was a child, I used to visit the talao. These trees will die like this. I am emotionally connected to this place. Beautification is good, but not at the cost of nature. These are ornamental palm trees. They enhance the look of the place.”

Contractorspeak
“I’m aware of it. We are watering the trees every day. We will remove the concrete around the trees in future,” claimed the contractor, when contacted.

The beautification project

Beautification of the 7.5-acre Bandra talao will be done at a cost of Rs 5 crore in one-and-a-half years. The proposed plan includes cleaning silt from the lake, building boating facilities, a fountain and laser lights, an amphitheatre, a walkway along the lake, and construction of a surrounding wall.

Rs 5 crore The cost of the beautification of Bandra talao

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