Metro ruckus: gardens dept. to send back tree cutting proposal to MMRDA

Move comes after citizens’ groups raise objections at public hearing in Byculla

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Gardens Department will send back a proposal to cut and transplant over 1,800 trees for Metro 4 and 6 to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in the face of stiff opposition to the plan.

“We will be sending the proposals back after noting the objections raised in the meeting today,” Jitendra Pardeshi, superintendent of gardens at the BMC, said at a public hearing at Byculla on Tuesday. Nearly 100 people from various citizens’ groups and residents of areas along the two corridors had come to the hearing to voice their protest against the proposal.

Mr. Pardeshi said they had not yet counted all the objections, but the citizens’ groups that have been campaigning against the proposed tree cutting said that they had sent around 10,000 e-mails.

Under the proposal, 1,814 trees were planned to make way for the two Metro projects, which included 673 trees to be cut and 1,114 to be transplanted, with the majority planned to be axed on the Wadala to Kasarwadavali Metro Line 4.

“There are petitions being heard in the Bombay High Court with regard to whether Metro 4 should be built underground. The decision to cut or transplant trees should not be taken unless the court decides. In case the court rules in favour of an underground Metro, then these trees would have been cut needlessly,” said Nishant Bangera, a Thane resident. He, however, commended the BMC for at least holding a public hearing on the matter stating that the Thane Municipal Corporation had not even bothered to hear their objections.

Sonali Mishra, a Powai resident, asked whether there is going to be any census of the trees that are to be cut and whether they will be geotagged. She said, “The survival rate of transplanted trees is barely 50%. What happens when they die? Moreover, trees are cut in our area and planted somewhere else. Where is our compensation?” Others cited recent reports on the rising levels of congestion in the city and demanded that there be a joint inspection with the Garden Department, the BMC’s Tree Authority, the MMRDA and the residents’ association.

The 32.5-km-long Metro 4 will be the second longest metro corridor in the city upon completion and is expected to cost ₹14,549 crore.

Metro 6 is being built between Swami Samarth Nagar in Oshiwara and Vikhroli and will run along JVLR. The 14.5-km-long corridor is expected to cost ₹6,716 crore.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:39:03 AM |

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