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198 trees fall 'prey' to Metro

Of the 827 trees identified by CIDCO for trimming and transplantation, 198 will be chopped off completely as they won't survive the relocation
 
The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO), has identified 827 trees that have been affecting the progress of the phase I of Metro rail project in Navi Mumbai. Hence, the developmental body has decided to transplant most of the trees in the surrounding areas. However, the idea of relocation hasn't gone down well with the environmentalists, who citing past experiences have dubbed the transplantation model a complete failure.


Relocated: One of the relocated trees in Kharghar area

Chopping spree
The civil construction for the first phase of Metro rail from Belapur to Pendhar commenced some two months ago. According to CIDCO officials, lack of alternatives forced them to either chop or transplant the trees to make a way for Metro rail. And the work has already commenced in Kharghar, where the officials have started chopping the trees. T R Kamble, horticulture officer, CIDCO, said "To ensure smooth construction work of Metro rail, we have identified 827 trees in Belapur and Kharghar, which need to be cut. We have already cut and transplanted 197 trees in and around the site using proper technique to ensure that trees survive transplantation. The remaining 442 trees will be cut within a few months as per construction's requirement."

Compensation
Besides, 198 trees will be lost forever as they won't be able to survive transplantation. However, CIDCO has planned to compensate this deficit by planting trees near metro tracks and stations. "There are some species which cannot survive transplantation. Hence, around 198 trees will be chopped off completely. We will plant various species of trees near metro tracks and around metro station areas to compensate the number of trees that were cut during the construction," said Kamble.

Expert speak
On other hand, environmentalists claim that the trees that are being transplanted are unlikely to survive. Dr Ashok Kothari, secretary, Bombay Natural History Society, said, "Hardly five per cent of transplanted trees are recorded to have survived so far. The transplantation model has turned out to be a failure. In the past, authorities in Mumbai had cut several trees at Nepean Sea Road and Marine Drive area, saying that they would transplant them. No one knows whether those trees survived or not. Besides, we were not even informed where those trees were transplanted to."

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