BMC has no clue if trees cleared for Mumbai Metro were transplanted

Jul 10, 2014, 07:53 IST | Varun Singh

The authority, which had uprooted 912 trees for the project, had been asked to transplant (re-plant) them somewhere else in the city; the civic body has no record if this was actually done

While the city is enjoying the Metro, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is clueless as to whether the trees, which were uprooted to make way for the project, have been transplanted elsewhere in the city. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) was told to transplant 912 trees, cleared to make way for the Metro.

MMOPL says it has transplanted 639 of the 912 trees uprooted for the Metro, and will do the rest soon. File pic
MMOPL says it has transplanted 639 of the 912 trees uprooted for the Metro, and will do the rest soon. File pic

Transplantation is a process in which trees from one area are completely removed along with their roots and re-planted in another location. The civic body had permitted the MMRDA to cut 688 trees; the transport body had uprooted another 912 for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) corridor, which they were told to transplant in other spots in the city.

However, authorities don’t have a clue whether this has actually been done. Members of the Tree Authority, a body set up to protect trees and greenery in the city, chaired by the municipal commissioner, had asked the Garden and Trees department about the transplantation, but received no reply.

No proof
Ameet Satam, a member of the Tree Authority and a corporator from K/West ward, said, “I have asked the Tree department to table the report, which shows that the MMRDA has transplanted the trees. We never got any reply from them. I think Mumbai’s green cover is being destroyed and BMC isn’t even aware of it.”

Niranjan Shetty, another member of the Authority, added, “They were given permission to cut around 688 trees. For every tree axed, two new ones have to be planted. So, that makes it nearly 1,300 trees.

Adding the 912 trees to be transplanted, we arrive at a figure of nearly 2,300 trees to be planted. If it has been done, the BMC should know about it and give us the locations.”

Shetty claims he has been told of trees having been planted in Aarey colony and along the highway, but no substantial evidence of these has been presented. He added that the committee was pushing for the exact locations of the transplanted trees, because the survival rate of these trees is known to be less.

When mid-day asked the Garden department Superintendent Vijay Hire, he replied that he had recently taken charge and his deputy would be able to provide more information. D K Ghule, the deputy superintendent, claimed his senior is planning to seek information from MMRDA about what action has been taken on the trees.

Authority speak
Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director, MMRDA said the authority has planted the compensatory trees. A spokesperson from Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd said that a total of 791 trees were cut for the Metro, for which they had proposed to plant 2,000 trees at Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

“The Forest department has granted us two hectares of land in the Tulsi forest area in Malad. The work order has been issued for plantation of trees and the process is likely to be completed in 3-4 months.

We have already transplanted 639 trees at various locations such as Bandra-Kurla Complex, Ghatkopar and a nursery at Andheri. We will transplant the rest soon.” He also clarified that they had all permissions in place to cut the trees.

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