mid day editorial: There's nothing called 'useless trees'

May 29, 2018, 06:30 IST | mid-day correspondent

The forest department has raised an objection to stop work, after the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) hacked down over 100 trees of rare species without the department's mandatory permission

This newspaper carried a front page report about trees being hacked to develop, of all things, a tree belt. The forest department has raised an objection to stop work, after the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) hacked down over 100 trees of rare species without the department's mandatory permission (as the trees fell in the buffer zone of holding ponds).

The justification given for the hacking is the development of a tree belt under the Centre's Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). Vashi residents were very upset, cited the report, watching NMMC officials hack the trees.

One resident was quoted as saying that the NMMC officials had told her they wanted useful trees instead of the current trees. This baffling answer is part of the truly bizarre R2-crore project, which will have a plantation of fruit-bearing trees, a lawn, and walkways. Now, the Forest Department and NMMC officials are in a battle with the former saying that trees have been cut without their permission.

The work has been stopped, but a considerable amount of trees have been felled. The NMMC said that the trees that have been cut are of no use and will be replaced by fruit and flowering ones.

Every tree is useful, and no tree is useless. One cannot see the logic in creating a tree belt where trees already exist. These fruit and flower bearing trees could have been planted in another part, where greenery is sparse.

One cannot fathom the logic behind the explanation of a useless tree. Trees are givers of life, they provide oxygen, they are necessary for ecological balance, and so in what way can they be useless? It is shocking that officials have hacked trees and say they will continue to hack for their 'useful tree belt'.

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