The Maharashtra government on Monday informed the Legislative Council that 44,574 trees will be hacked to make way for its ambitious Mumbai-Goa 4-lane highway project spanning 600 kms.
While speaking during the question hour, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde questioned if 67,950 trees will be cut to make way for Mumbai-Goa highway project. He also asked if more than 90-year-old trees will be cut for the project.
"Can the government not make changes in the draft plan of the project to save trees here as it does in other projects?" he questioned.
In response, Chandrakant Patil, Public Works Department (PWD) minister said that the government cannot make changes in the project draft plan and a total of 44,574 trees will be affected by the project.
"The affected trees will be shifted to another place. None of them will be killed. As per the government's latest policy no trees will be cut but will be replanted at the other locations," Patil said.
He further said that 84 km long phase I of the project from Panvel-Indapur has been stuck due to problems of land acquisition.
"To avoid further delay in the project due to land acquisition problem, we have decided that 80 per cent land acquisition will be completed as soon as possible and then the project will start covering the region between Indapur and Zarap (at the other end) as it goes through three districts, Raigarh, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg," he said.
The cost of the project is Rs 6,500 crore and it is being funded by Centre, the minister added.