A Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) JCB machine brought in to clean up a garden on Paud road before it was officially handed over to the civic body to be maintained, ended up damaging 20 saplings that had recently been planted. Members of Nisargasevak, a city-based NGO, pointed out the damage to the municipal garden department during a handing over ceremony on August 31.
The saplings were from the many donated by residents of the area and planted by the NGO. As per a 10-year agreement with the PMC, the NGO will be developing Smriti Udyan, a public-PMC partnership biodiversity park on six acres of land at old Kachara Depot (garbage dumping land) on Paud Road. The Udyan is home to over 150 varieties totalling 650 trees. PMC had provided water supply and power. The handing over ceremony was attended by Naresh Zurmure, additional commissioner and chief garden superintendent, PMC and others.
Medha Joshi, secretary, Nisargasevak, said, “We are not blaming PMC, as the JCB machine operator might have done it accidentally. Even a water pipe was broken. Residents donated these saplings and we are answerable to them and will therefore, replant these saplings or get replacements.”
Vidya Ketkar (85), retired teacher and tree donor concerned about the saplings she donated, said, “I donated the plants to commemorate the remarkable work done by former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.”
Dr Ramesh Godbole, president, Nisargasevak, said, “The Smriti Udyan located on the garbage duping land also needs more water and wall around for protection as it is surrounded by slums. The Kachara depot land was given to us by PMC’s former Garden Superintendent Yashwant Khaire in 2002 and we have taken up the challenge to develop it into a beautiful BDP in the next 10 years. We hope that the civic body will maintain it properly.”
The other side
chief garden superint-endent Naresh Zurmure ruled out the possibility of the 20 saplings being damaged by the JCB. He said, “The machine had only removed unwanted weeds and cleared the road. I don’t think any sapling planted at Smriti Udyan was damaged by the JCB. Nobody pointed out the issue during the handing over ceremony. PMC will certainly take care of the Smriti Udyan and make the place safe and secure.”