Even as civic administration and other city agencies are planning major infrastructure projects,this will cost the city almost 500 trees in the process.
According to the data provided by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporations (BMC) Tree Authority,permission to cut 493 trees was sought by various agencies including the BMC,MMRDA and MUTP since January 2012 for major infrastructure projects.
Of the 1,297 trees that are obstructing these development projects,the civic administration has given permission to chop 111 trees and transplant 382.
The Tree Authority is a BMC committee,which approves proposals for tree cutting in the city. It comprises of environment experts,civic officials and corporators.
The civic body,which is undertaking massive road repair work including concretisation of major roads,road widening,removing bottlenecks at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore has so far sought permission to cut 50 trees and transplant 317.
Of the road concretisation work,27 of the 58 roads is yet to be concretised.
While the MMRDA has sought permission for construction of a skywalk in Santacruz,permission for cutting 45 trees and transplanting 56 trees have been granted for the Metro Rail project in the past six months alone.
Despite authorities claiming that the majority of the trees will be transplanted to maintain green cover,tree experts are doubtful.
Former nominated member of the Tree Authority Dr Nilesh Baxi said,The idea of transplanting of trees is a hoax. The success rate of such trees is very low. Post transplantation,these trees are to be taken care of for at least three years but most of them die in few months due to lack of care. It has been observed that in the past also,BMC has been unable to take good care of the trees,which were transplanted.
Avinash Kubal,Deputy Director of Maharashtra Nature Park and Tree expert said,Transplantation of trees needs expertise. In case it is done carelessly,all the trees will be lost despite being cut and planted again. The authorities should ensure transplantation is done scientifically and proper care both before and after transplantation.
While tree transplant is considered a good option,it is not mandatory to transplant these trees in the nearby vicinity but anywhere in the city,leading to imbalance in the green cover,feel experts,
Unlike in many other cities in the world,there is no mandate to transplant a tree along the same road where it was cut. Although it is possible to do so,there is not much willingness to follow such a procedure in this city, said Kubal.
According to the 2008 tree census Mumbai has close to 20 lakh trees,with one tree for 7 residents while New York,on the other hand,has three trees per person.