Hey BMC, this is chopping trees, not 'trimming'!

Apr 29, 2016, 08:07 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Residents of Takshila Housing Society upset at civic body for cutting big branches of more than 20 banyan trees, saying it's 'trimming them'

Residents of the Takshila Housing Society in Andheri (east) are up in arms against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), after the civic body cut big branches of more than 20 trees in the name of trimming them. Residents allege that the branches of the trees, which are not even dangerous, are being cut with the intention to kill them.

The secretary of the Bhadra Cooperative Housing Society, the apex body for all buildings under Takshila housing complex, says the branches have been trimmed as a precautionary measure, since the slums are too close to the six-foot wall of the society and the branches can fall on the slums any time. Pics/Vedant Mane

"I understand that trees need to be trimmed from time to time, but trimming, and hacking with intent to destroy, are two different things. I also feel that due procedure was not followed and instant decisions were taken. In the name of trimming, huge branches, which should have not been cut, were also chopped. All this has lead to destruction of the banyan trees," said Mira Desai, a resident of Takshila Housing Society.

A resident even alleged that proper permission and procedures were not followed to do the trimming. The nature lovers were allegedly not even shown a proper copy of the permission, which they demanded from the person doing the trimming work.
Takshila Housing Society has 33 buildings and more than 700 trees in its area. The buildings have individual housing societies and the apex body of these 33 buildings is known as Bhadra Cooperative Housing Society.

Takshila Housing Society in Andheri (east)
Takshila Housing Society in Andheri (east)

‘Precautionary measure’
However, the secretary of the Bhadra Cooperative Housing Society says this was a collective decision. She said, "The trees are more than 30 years old. The illegal slums adjacent to the boundary wall of the building have come up over the last few years. The slums are too close to the six-foot wall of our society. The branches of the trees can fall on the slums any time, so it’s better to do the trimming as a precautionary measure."

"It is better to trim the branches of a tree, however holy it may be, so that accidents can be avoided. Human life is precious and the trimming was done only after taking permission from the BMC ward office in July, last year," she added.

Letter to BMC
The society members who are against this unscientific trimming of trees, will also be writing a letter to the Superintendent of Gardens (BMC) at the K-East ward office and also the Tree Authority, asking them to take serious note of the same. According to the residents, the work of trimming the trees took place between April 23 and 27.

"Despite our protests, over 27 trees have been cut, and several hacked to the ground. The canopy of two grand banyan trees has been completely destroyed. New trees which were not intruding on anyone’s space were cut," alleged another resident
The residents also alleged that since the trimming was done in this season, the nests of the birds on some of the trees got destroyed and at few places, the eggs of the birds fell down and got destroyed.

BMC says
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Devendra Kumar Jain of K-East ward said, "I am not aware about it, but I will look into the matter. If proper measures were not taken, then we will take action against those responsible."

mid-day's observation

When mid-day visited the society and the 100 to 200-metre stretch along the society boundary adjacent to the slum yesterday, we found that some of the Ashoka trees, which usually grow straight, were also trimmed in such a manner that locals fear they will not grow again. There were two banyan trees, away from the security or compound wall of the building. Huge branches of these trees were also cut in the name of trimming, citing the danger to the nearby slums, as the trees can fall on them during the monsoon.

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