Mumbai: BMC's garden dept seeks protection from Aarey police to conduct tree census

BMC’s garden dept has sought protection from the Aarey police to conduct a tree census after facing threats from locals in the Aarey Milk Colony

You must have heard about the BMC or MHADA seeking police protection while they are tearing down illegal constructions, but have you heard of the civic body taking police protection for counting trees?

As per the latest figures, the tree numbers have crossed the 3-lakh mark and are expected to be over 5 lakh at the end of the survey. Pic for representation
As per the latest figures, the tree numbers have crossed the 3-lakh mark and are expected to be over 5 lakh at the end of the survey. Pic for representation

The agency conducting BMC’s tree census has no other option left after facing threats from locals inside Aarey Milk Colony (AMC).

The BMC gardens department has written a letter to the Aarey police station for providing protection to the team. The letter has been written by Deputy Superintendent of Gardens (Tree Authority). It was sent to AMC police station’s senior police inspector last month, and was submitted to them on April 26. It has been stated in the letter that the people doing the tree census are finding it difficult to do the survey.

Facing threats
The letter reads, “The work has been allotted to the SAAR IT RESOURCES PVT. LTD. and ID cards have been provided to the surveyors. While executing the tree census work in Aarey colony, the team is facing a lot of difficulties and threats from the villagers and padas located at AMC.”

A resident from Aarey alleged, “There are some anti-social elements who don’t want the census to happen, as they want to construct huts in those areas. I think the police officials should provide security to the company doing tree census so that all the trees are counted properly. This data of tree census from Aarey will be useful in the future, to check the locations where the encroachments have taken place.”

Dense area
Doing a tree census in AMC is not an easy task as even though the area is not technically classified as a forest, the forest cover in the colony is quite dense at some places. It has also been stated in the letter that giving police protection to the surveyors/ enumerators will help them carry out tree census smoothly and speedily.

"You are requested to co-operate with the enumerators by giving police protection to them," the letter concludes.

An official from Aarey Police Station said, "We have recieved the letter from BMC's Garden department regarding provision of police protection to the agency doing Tree Census at Aarey. We will help them in the best possible way that we can."

The tree census at AMC has been going on from the past 6-7 months and over 75 per cent of the area has been covered already. As per the latest figures, the tree numbers have crossed the 3-lakh mark and are expected to be over 5 lakh at the end.

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