Saplings planted by Maharashtra CM's wife banished to college backyard

A few of the 11-odd saplings planted at Wilson College by the CM's wife Amruta Fadnavis on World Environment Day, were shifted to the backyard to ensure the trees didn't cover up a hoarding rented out by the institute

To mark World Environment Day, on June 5, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis' wife, Amruta had been invited to plant saplings at Wilson College. Since then, however, a few of those saplings have been removed and banished to the backyard of the school — all because the trees threatened to cover a huge hoarding that the college rents out for advertisements.

The CM’s wife, Amruta Fadnavis had been invited to plant saplings at Wilson College on June 5. The BJP will now write to the college and BMC to ask why some of the trees were moved.
The CM’s wife, Amruta Fadnavis had been invited to plant saplings at Wilson College on June 5. The BJP will now write to the college and BMC to ask why some of the trees were moved.

A group of BJP supporters called NaMo Malhar had invited Amruta to plant trees in the college campus and on the footpath outside. She had planted a total of 11 inside the campus, of which three to five were planted close to the hoarding by the sea-facing gate. According to an official from the college, these saplings have since been moved to the backyard because the college authorities feared once they grew they would completely obscure the hoarding.

Money doesn’t grow on trees: Around 3 to 5 saplings had been planted along the wall on the sea-facing side, right in front of this hoarding. According to sources, these saplings were banished to the backyard as the college management feared that the trees would grow to cover the billboard.
Money doesn’t grow on trees: Around 3 to 5 saplings had been planted along the wall on the sea-facing side, right in front of this hoarding. According to sources, these saplings were banished to the backyard as the college management feared that the trees would grow to cover the billboard.

'Unacceptable'
This move has not gone down well with BJP leaders, who now intend to write to the college principal and the BMC, asking why the trees were moved at all.

Niranjan Shetty, spokesperson for BJP Mumbai, who is also a member of the Tree Authority of BMC, said, "The saplings were planted by the chief minister's wife; how can they be removed, and that too for a hoarding? We will raise the matter with the principal and also with the BMC. This is unacceptable to us."

Jyotshna Mehta, from NaMo Malhar, claimed that the BMC is looking after the trees that were planted on the footpath outside the campus, but the college is responsible for the trees inside. She added that she had also heard that a few trees had been shifted and would ask the college authorities why this had happened.

the other side

In an emailed response, principal V J Sirwaiya said, "We had understood that 8 to 10 saplings would be planted, but in all, about 15 were planted. Some of the saplings were planted in a place which had not been designated for that purpose. Those saplings were shifted."

When mid-day visited the college campus, Sirwaiya showed us the spot where the trees had originally been planted by Amruta. This spot is right in front of a large hoarding with an advert on it, situated within the campus, along the road on the sea-facing side. He told this paper, "We have rented out the hoarding. Why is there a need to place such a large tree in front of it?"

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