Mumbai: BMC's Miyawaki forests to eat up playgrounds

Updated: 20 December, 2019 14:34 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Five grounds in city to lose space to crammed forests, which corporators say will reduce equally important open spaces

A Miyawaki plantation drive at Colaba Woods Garden. Pic courtesy: BMC
A Miyawaki plantation drive at Colaba Woods Garden. Pic courtesy: BMC

After it assured corporators that it will not plant Miyawaki forests on city playgrounds, five such grounds have appeared on the BMC's list of 64 plots set to get the green cover. As per the plan, two of the five grounds will have half their area covered, while other grounds will have the forest coming up on a 200 to 500 square-metre chunk. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is going to spend R35 crore on these urban forests.

Currently, the Miyawaki method of planting forests, which involves more trees in a smaller area, is the talk of the town. While there has been no opposition to the planting of trees, the plan has been criticised for the huge cost and the chosen locations, which include gardens and playground. The forests will be so thick that people won't be able to enter them. There will be around three trees per square metre.

During a discussion on the proposal in a standing committee meeting on Thursday, Ravi Raja, leader of Opposition said, "Every commissioner comes with his own vision. Now, we are going for Miyawaki. Tree plantation is good for the city but no space of any playground should be reduced as there are very few plots available for citizens. BMC should first speak to residents."

A Miyawaki plantation drive at Colaba Woods Garden

Contrary to the list, Jitendra Pardeshi, superintendent of the Garden Department, assured committee members that no forest would be developed on playgrounds. Playgrounds in Manori, Malad West, JVPD-Andheri, Santacruz West, and Bandra East have been earmarked for Miyawaki forests.

While Nakshatra Udyan at JVPD, which is under Playground Reservation, will be reduced by 40 per cent, the Manori Village playground will lose 55 per cent of its space. The forest will take up 200, 400 and 500 square metres in the Bandra East, Malad West and Santacruz West grounds respectively.

"While trees are needed, the city needs open spaces, too. Forests, where people can't enter, will reduce usable open spaces. They are only ornamental," said Corporator Asif Zakaria. He added that spaces for such forests should be reserved in the Development Plan after careful planning.

No. of trees to be planted per every sqm area

Number speak

Total plots for Miyawaki forest: 64
In city and western suburbs: 37
In eastern suburbs: 27
Trees to be planted: 3,77,416
Cost: R35,43,35,965

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First Published: 20 December, 2019 07:10 IST

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