Mumbai: Shopkeepers encroach upon space cleared of trees to widen S V Road
Environmental activists have also raised the issue of poor quality saplings planted on the other side of the road in Andheri West with the civic body
Shopkeepers have even stacked up their goods along the road, taking up more space than what had been cleared by civic staff. Pics/Dutta Kumbhar
It seems the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) efforts to widen the S V Road in Andheri West have not yielded the desired results. Shopkeepers have not only encroached upon the cleared space, but have also taken up more space along the road to keep their goods. Apart from raising this issue with the civic body, environmental activists have also expressed their disappointment over the way some poor quality saplings have been planted on the other side of the road. They are of the opinion that re-plantation has not been done in compliance with the rules.
In September last year, BMC's garden department had issued a public notice to cut 16 trees on either side of S V Road, from M A School to the Andheri station subway. Following this, the trees were cut down in December and the road was widened. According to the rules, the authorities were supposed to plant the same number of trees in some other part of SV Road area. However, according to the activists, that hasn't happened.
Environmental activist Faezeh Jalali from the Save Trees group had first spotted the tree cutting activities and alerted the other members. "I was on my way to see a doctor when I saw some people cutting the trees along S V Road. When I enquired about it, an official said that the trees were being trimmed. But on my way back, I saw that all of them had been hacked," he said.
Another activist Zoru Bhathena said, "The trees were cut for widening the road, but it has hardly helped, as shopkeepers have encroached upon the space. The situation has become worse."
Zoru also alleged that the garden department had given permission to the road department to cut the trees on the condition that 22 trees would be planted in the same area. "However, the saplings that have been planted does not match the specifications provided by the garden department," he said.
He further added, "As per the permission letter given to the road department, the height of the trees should be 10 feet and girth 6 inches. But the saplings have not been planted following the rules and they have very less chances of survival."
Even after repeated attempts to contact Rajan Madiwale, deputy chief engineer, roads department (western suburbs), he was unavailable for comments.
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