The BMC has asked the police to look into the tree felling incident that took place inside Mumbai University’s Kalina campus last month.
The assistant commissioner of the H-East ward has written to the senior police inspector of the Vakola police station, asking him to take action against authorities of Mumbai University for undertaking unauthorised tree felling. “We request you to take action against the concerned authorities of the university under the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975,” read the letter.
The police was approached by the ward office after it failed to elicit any response to the show-cause notice sent to the varsity in April.
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“We sent the show-cause notice, thereafter, the university officials said they had not received it, so we sent the notice again. Till today, we have not received any explanation from them,” said Ajit kumar Ambi, assistant commissioner, H-East ward.
Branches of 15 trees were cut on April 13 inside Kalina campus that housed a bat colony. According to the junior tree officer of the ward, the gardening department of the university had only sought permission to prune these trees but instead they cut them. The university has done more than what they had sought permission for, he added after the site inspection. The issue had come to light after students and faculty members approached the university authorities and wrote to the university registrar.
Following the outcry, the university registrar sought a detailed report from the superintendent of the university gardens department. Meanwhile, the university has passed the blame on to the ‘BMC-approved’ contractor they hired for the tree pruning activity.
“We had asked the contractor to follow the norms of the BMC while undertaking the work. Whether the contractor did the work as per norms or not is for BMC to decide, and whatever action has to be taken should be taken against the contractor,” said M A Khan, university registrar. “The university garden superintendent will soon reply to the BMC’s show-cause notice,” he added. The varsity plans to undertake a plantation drive on July 18. Khan said more than twice of the trees hacked would be planted.