MMRDA's token transplanting scam at Aarey Colony exposed

Feb 15, 2018, 18:35 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Seven of 15 trees that were recently uprooted for Metro VII project were already dried up when re-planted

MMRDA's token transplanting scam at Aarey Colony exposedFile pic

Barely a year after mid-day exposed how Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had killed 25 trees that were uprooted and later transplanted to make way for Metro II construction, a similar case has come to the fore. This time, however, the development body is guilty of transplanting dead trees at Aarey Milk Colony, proving that the project is mere tokenism.

Around 10 days ago, nearly 15 trees that were coming in the way of the Dahisar-Andheri East Metro VII line were removed from the Western Urban Road. The same trees were then transplanted at a location in Aarey Milk Colony close to Bombay Veterinary Collage's campus in Goregaon East. However, locals told mid-day that around seven trees that were re-planted, already appeared to be dead.

MMRDA's token transplanting scam at Aarey Colony exposedFile pic

Wildlife and nature lover Kaushal Dubey, who lives in the vicinity, said, "Recently, I noticed MMRDA staff carry out transplantation work at an empty plot. However, the next day when I visited the location, I was shocked to see that at least seven trees were completely dried up. It appears that the trees hadn't been uprooted properly. How can authorities be so careless?" Dubey's claims proved to be true, when mid-day visited the plot yesterday. At least half of the trees looked dead, and the transplantation had been carried out in a haphazard manner, with barely six to seven feet distance between trees.

Environmentalist and nature lovers have time and again been highlighting the improper manner in which MMRDA has been carrying out transplantation.

When contacted, Dilip Kawatkar, joint project director, MMRDA, said, "I am not aware about the issue and will check with the officials concerned before commenting on the same."

However, he defended the ongoing transplantation work, saying, "The contractor who carries out the transplantation of trees follows the proper technique of transplantation so that the tree survives."

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