Mumbai: BMC, locals at 'log'gerheads over cutting of Khar trees

Updated: Nov 18, 2016, 09:42 IST | Silky Sharma

Residents of Ramkrishna Nagar in Khar (West) are not a happy bunch. They are annoyed with the civic body for cutting down old and huge trees that were on a ground in the area, thereby reducing the green cover

The area on 4th Road in Hasnabad Lane, Khar, where residents have alleged indiscriminate chopping of trees by the civic body. Pics/Satej Shinde
The area on 4th Road in Hasnabad Lane, Khar, where residents have alleged indiscriminate chopping of trees by the civic body. Pics/Satej Shinde

Residents of Ramkrishna Nagar in Khar (West) are not a happy bunch. They are annoyed with the civic body for cutting down old and huge trees that were on a ground in the area, thereby reducing the green cover. Owner of the ground BMC now plans to use the space to build a ward office there.

The entrance to the BMC-owned ground in Khar
The entrance to the BMC-owned ground in Khar

While the BMC has claimed that it will plant other trees in that space, residents and activists are upset over the environmental damage and noise pollution.

The temple on the ground where trees were cut
The temple on the ground where trees were cut

Citizens vs corporation
“The ground is right next to my home. Before this, if one looked out the window from my house, all one could see was greenery — the ground was covered by at least five huge trees, which have now been cut from the base. Also, the workers have been using chainsaws to cut the trees, that has caused noise pollution in the area,” said Gitanjali Chandrasekharan, a resident.

Another resident, Jagdish Shiva Trikaan (52), said, “The place was a community hub for us… people would come for prayers in the temple on the ground, the area had a very good and peaceful ambience. But now, the trees have already been cut, and we can’t say anything to them.”

A civic official from the garden department, however, said they had taken permission from the Tree Authority and even put up a notice before starting the work. They had even cleared all the legal procedures before cutting the trees, he added, confirming that new trees have been planted in place of the old ones.

When mid-day contacted the superintendent of the garden department, JV Pardeshi, he refused to comment.

Greens see red
But environmentalists are not convinced by BMC’s reasoning and criticised it for the way it has gone about the whole thing.

“If authorities cut down a tree from one place and implant it in another area, it will be as lifeless as a showpiece. In the last year, thousands of trees have died because of BMC’s carelessness; the remaining the civic body is cutting down on some or the other pretext. This is clearly an insensitive attitude towards the city’s environment,” said Stalin D, environmentalist and director of NGO Vanashakti.

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