Debris at the bottom of 100-yr-old trees blocks stream

May 24, 2013, 08:14 IST | Vivek Sabnis

Local residents are coming together to warn the PMC of an agitation if the debris posing a threat to the heritage trees and the stream is not cleaned up

Heaps of debris and dirt at the bottom of nine 100-year-old heritage trees is posing a direct threat to their lives and is also blocking a natural stream near the trees on a road near Yerawada Central Prison.

The residents have warned Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to clean up the mess before the monsoon and construct a support for the tree’s roots and clear the path for a natural stream.

Trickle down effect: Residents feel debris from the construction work near the trees is harming them by seeping into the roots and thus blocking a natural stream. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

The issue was raised by Neelesh Dive, Sandeep Shinde, Deepak Nikalje and many other activists from Sai Prathishtan on the same road.

“I am witnessing this illegal, unethical and anti-environment activity for the last six to eight months. The debris includes construction bricks and broken tiles and also used cement blocks. This is being dumped at the bottom of the tree trunks when nobody is on the road. We suspect that it might be the work of some builder and construction company in the area,” said Dive.

Nikalje said, “This debris has visibly harmed two trees in the last year and the PMC Garden Department is doing nothing despite us contacting their
local ward office staff. The sheer negligence by PMC is pathetic. Experts from Pune Forest Department have assessed the age of these trees at more than 80-years of age.

Dr S D Mahajan, veteran botanist and president, Maharashtra Vriksha Samvardhani, who visited the area also examined the trees and remarked, “The trees at Tingre Nagar at Yerawada are pretty old. As per my estimation, nine trees are 100-years-old.”

A huge construction site near the trees belongs to K Raheja Projects.

The residents suspect that the debris is being dumped by construction workers.

When contacted, Anil Mathur, K Raheja Corporation’s head (Pune operation), refuted the charges said, “We also observed the debris and dirt since the inception of our project in the area. We have constructed a new building and therefore there is no question of broken tiles or bricks or used cement being dumped near the trees. In fact, as corporate social responsibility, we are ready to clear the debris from the trees and clear the area.”

The other side
Ashok Ghorpade, garden superintendent, who was not aware of the pathetic situation of these trees, said, “We are fully aware of the existence of these heritage trees near the Yerawada Central Prison. Our people will reach the spot as early as possible and clean up the debris and dirt. We shall also penalize those found guilty. The work to clear the path for the natural stream shall happen after conducting a survey of the area.” 

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