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Monday, May 14, 2012

822 trees to be hacked in city for utility projects

Mumbai: In a move that could attract public criticism, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's Tree Authority committee passed 24 proposals to fell 822 trees across the city for utility projects on Monday. 
    Of the 822 trees, the civic body will cut down 223 in Mulund (E)—railway culvert to Jai Hind Colony— for widening a nullah. 
    The decision was taken after tree committee members recently visited the site. 
    The civic body said a survey of all the areas was done before the proposal was floated. In most cases, the trees are being felled for road work, widening of nullahs or laying water lines. Tree Authority members demanded that there must be proper scrutiny to ensure the trees have been transplanted. 
    Following demands from a few corporators, civic chief Sitaram Kunte told the civic administration to make a detailed report of all trees felled last year and the number transplanted so far. "We had demanded a detailed report of trees that have been cut and transplanted over the past one year. A proper database should be in place so that further studies on the city's tree population can be undertaken," said BJP leader and tree authority member Ameet Satam. 
    Several other demands were made by committee members. The civic body is also likely to make a detailed study of the number of trees felled over the past one year due to development projects like the Metro. "There is no information on the number of trees cut for development projects," added Satam. 
    On Tuesday, the BMC will embark on its pre-monsoon survey of vulnerable and dangerous trees. The annual trimming of trees will also begin from Tuesday. The tree authority members demanded that the exercise should be completed before the monsoon. Manisha Choudhry, tree authority member, said, "A ward-wise survey of dangerous trees that may cause damage this monsoon will begin soon." Members also passed a resolution that it would be mandatory for the committee to visit the site if more than 10 trees had to be cut. A former member of the tree authority said, "Often, under the guise of storm water drain widening, trees are sanctioned for cutting but the land is used for commercial purposes." 
Green Danger 

• Aug 25, '11: Milestone Capital CEO and MD Ved Prakash Arya died after a coconut tree fell on him at a municipal garden in Versova 

• July 18, '11: A woman and her six-month-old daughter died after a banyan tree fell on them in Nariman Point

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