Mumbai: In 50 days, notices to cut 2,231 trees for infrastructural projects

Updated: Feb 23, 2020, 07:45 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Public notices by BMC's Tree Authority reveals that proposals have been made for cutting of 600 trees for coastal road, over 100 for JVPD Road.

Most trees, which fall under the public notice will be cut or transplanted for roads and nullah widening projects and building construction. Pic/Ashish Raje
Most trees, which fall under the public notice will be cut or transplanted for roads and nullah widening projects and building construction. Pic/Ashish Raje

It's been just a month and a half into the new year and the BMC has already published public notices for the removal of 2,231 trees for various infrastructural projects. As compared to the official figure of last year's tree-cutting permits of 3,236—activists argue that as per public notices, the civic body gave permission for the removal of 14,518 trees in 2019—this year has already seen 70 per cent of that number.

In the budget speech for 2020-21, the municipal commissioner mentioned that over the last five years, permissions have been given for the cutting of 25,000 trees. It is mandatory to issue a public notice to hear suggestions/objections on tree removal before permissions are granted by the BMC's Tree Authority committee. Between January 1 and February 20, the BMC published 17 such notices.

Most of these trees will be cut or transplanted for roads and nullah widening, building construction etc. While last year, the Metro III car shed at Aarey Milk Colony led to the cutting of 2,646 trees, this year the coastal road could claim 600 trees, as per a February 17 notice. Permission has been sought for over 100 trees for construction of the JVPD road and 228 trees in Mahul. Another 300 trees have been declared dead and dangerous. Apart from these 2,231 trees, there are proposals to remove 217 trees that currently await the municipal commissioner's nod.

"When will our government open its eyes to this wanton destruction of our green cover? When will they take corrective action?" said Zoru Bhathena, an activist. Jitendra Pardeshi, superintendent of the Garden Department of BMC, remained unavailable for comment despite repeated calls.

14,518
The No. of tree cutting proposals that activists say came in last year, against the BMC's official figure of 3,236

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