Saving a Mumbai heritage tree from Hyderabad

A translocated tree.  

Nearly a month after the giant 110-year-old Banyan tree was uprooted when Cyclone Tauktae hit Mumbai and the suburbs there are signs of fresh life with new leaves sprouting on the tree in the translocated spot in a Bandra reclaimed land. The shoots have brought a smile on the face of Vata Foundation’s founder-trustee P. Uday Krishna after a while, as he has been fighting a legal battle to save the trees marked for felling on the Gandipet road here.

“Sign of new leaves in the first translocated tree has been a source of happiness for all the volunteers. We have been able to save eight trees, all of them more than 50 years and some are up to 100-years-old, with the help of the local people and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). We have another 20 identified as ‘heritage’ trees for translocation. Work has been halted because of recent rains,” he says.

Citizens from Mumbai contacted him after they read about how he and his fellow volunteers successfully saved of a giant tree after it got uprooted in the Arambol beach in Goa last year. “With COVID travel restrictions I was in a dilemma, but luckily I had two volunteer friends who have moved to Mumbai — Marc Francis and Jaryd — and with their active participation, we have been able to save the huge decades--old trees,” explains Mr. Krishna.

The tricky issues where some roots got cut and another tree which got arched onto a dangerous angle were successfully tackled with help of video calls. Banyan, Peltophorum, Peepal and the likes were taken up for translocation but Gulmohurs were left since roots were found to be brittle. Donations were accepted from the citizens this time as the Foundation had to employ labour and contract machinery there though permissions from BMC were “quick and prompt”.

“We have also been contacted by the Nagpur railway authorities to shift 4,000 trees to alternate site either of the railways or private lands as construction of a building is due. Most of the trees are 50 years or more, currently we are trying to enumerate them and our plan is to save a majority of them, if not all,” adds Mr. Krishna.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 12:45:14 PM |

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