There was some internal strife in the BJP after party spokesperson Shaina NC came out in opposition to party's Malabar Hill MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha's proposal to make a pedestrian pathway into motorable road near Hanging Gardens in Walkeshwar by chopping off 70 trees.
Coming out in support of environmentalists, Shaina NC met Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas on Wednesday afternoon demanding that the Siri Road project be reconsidered and trees be saved.
More than a month ago, Lodha and BJP corporators had proposed that a roughly 500-mt patch of Siri Road on Malabar Hill be widened. The road is currently only used by pedestrians but Lodha has proposed that the road be made motorable, which will provide better connectivity between Napean Sea Road and Nariman Point. But this proposal will require clearing a 2500 sq mt patch of the Hanging Garden and removal of about 70 trees. The BMC claims that about 45 trees will be transplanted.
Residents, environmentalists and local activists have been opposing the proposal and on Wednesday, Shaina met Srinivas along with activists Indrani Malkane, Prakash Munshi and others.
"One needs to objectively decide whether it is necessary to cut trees because every single tree matters. We should consider what the majority wants and Mr Srinivas was also positive about it. He said all stakeholders will be heard," said Shaina.
But when asked if there is a rift in the BJP and what is the party's official stand, she said, "I have the utmost of regard for Mr Lodha. He is the local MP. But I met Mr Srinivas in my personal capacity as a trustee of the NGO 'I Love Mumbai'. It is not a matter of the BJP at all. The idea is to build a consensus. If Mr Lodha's proposal is justifiable, if it is absolutely essential to cut trees, so be it," she said.