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Mumbai: 55 full grown trees along EEH killed ‘by advertisers, builders’

Updated on: 20 April,2024 06:53 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Apoorva Agashe |

Green body complains to cops against builders in January, but Pant Nagar police only register NC, say ‘nothing suspicious found’ in CCTV footage

Mumbai: 55 full grown trees along EEH killed ‘by advertisers, builders’

The holes on the tree allegedly used to poison the trees; (right) The leafless trees along the Eastern Express Highway. Pics/Rajesh Gupta

Key Highlights

  1. The greenery lining the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) is under threat
  2. Building contractors, advertising agencies are clandestinely cutting off, poisoning trees
  3. This year three separate incidents of poisoning and chopping trees have been reported

The greenery lining the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) is under threat. Building contractors and advertising agencies are clandestinely cutting off or poisoning trees along the highway for better views of their hoardings.

As per records, this year three separate incidents of poisoning and chopping trees have been reported in which over 55 trees have been discreetly killed, and no one has been arrested to date. The first FIR was registered in January with the Pant Nagar police, where nine trees along the EEH were chopped down by a builder as they were coming in the way of his under-construction project. Though the cops have registered a case, no action has been taken against the builder. 

In the second incident reported six months ago the Vikhroli police registered a case against an anonymous person for chopping another six trees, and the cops have not bothered to arrest anyone in this case to date.

Leafless trees along the EEH. Pic/Rajesh Gupta Leafless trees along the EEH. Pic/Rajesh Gupta 

On April 16, there was another blow to the greenery on this highway when someone had discreetly poisoned over 40 trees. Twenty foxtail trees and 16 peltophorum trees were part of the beautification project of BMC planted along the EEH opposite Ramabai Nagar. On the complaint of BMC, a case has been registered by the Pant Nagar police who are not investigating the case.

“In January, the BMC had registered an FIR against a contractor for cutting nine trees; however, no action has been initiated so far. We have also noticed that people cut trees for a better view of the ad banners,” said Vipul Shah, a member of the Garodia Federation. As per the FIR, the trees were poisoned from February 19 to February 28.

“From the given time frame, we noticed that someone had allegedly drilled several trees and injected chemicals into the trees, which amounted to the death of around 41 trees. The said person has drilled the trees, and the holes are visible; hence we took suo motu cognisance and registered an FIR with the Pant Nagar police station,” said a BMC officer who has registered a complaint in the case on the condition of not revealing his name.

The Green Umbrella organisation has raised concerns about the constant cutting down or poisoning of the trees, “At first, we thought that the trees were shedding leaves due to heat; however, we noticed holes, and then it was understood that the trees might have been poisoned. We are planning to replant the trees before the month of monsoon,” said Vikram Yende, a member of Green Umbrella.

According to Yende, the organisation had filed an FIR against an unknown person as he had allegedly cut down trees, “Some 6-7 months back we had noticed that someone had cut six trees for a better view on the Vikhroli bus stop near the EEH. We had registered an FIR and the banner had been pulled down.” Yende added.

In another instance, the Pantnagar police station had booked a local Builder, allegedly destroying nine trees as it was obstructed by the construction. Confirming the incident, Senior Pi Rajendra Kevle of Pant Nagar police station said, “On January 24, the BMC had noticed that the builder had chopped nine trees along the EEH as it obstructed the redevelopment of the old building. We registered an FIR and are investigating the matter.”

However, in a recent case in which 50 trees were poisoned, the cops have registered a case under the relevant sections of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Conservation and Preservation of Trees Act 1975. “We have scrutinised the CCTV footage and found nothing suspicious; we are investigating the matter,” Kevle added.

"The Green Umbrella organisation and the BMC had approached us, and hence we had filed an NC in this regard." Said a police officer attached to Vikhroli police station.

Feb 19 to 28
Period during which the trees were allegedly poisoned

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