MANY OF the trees uprooted and transplanted for the construction of Metro 3 by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) in a Sports Authority of India (SAI) plot in Kandivali East have already died. Transplanted from different parts of the city, at least 60 trees were planted in the Kandivali plot.
Some of the trees have not sprouted fresh leaves even months after being transplanted. A few other trees show signs of life but appear to have not been watered for days.
A horticulturalist with a contractor responsible for transplanting trees on the Kandivali plot admitted the trees were not being regularly watered. “So far we have been watering the trees around once a week. But we realise it’s not sufficient and has resulted in the loss of many trees. We will now water them every day,” he said.
MMRC did not respond to a detailed questionnaire sent to them regarding the health of the transplanted trees.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court’s junior tree committee is also looking into the health of the transplanted trees and recently concluded its fifth inspection. The report submitted to the High Court after the fourth inspection said, “The Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) stated that there are many trees transplanted at various sites… in spite of transplantation, there is no sprouting to them. MMRC needs to take more care so that the transplanted trees survive. In the inspection of trees transplanted, the sprouting of leaves appears to be between 65 per cent and 70 per cent.”
The High Court had allowed MMRC to cut 1,075 trees and transplant 1,727 for the construction of underground stations. MMRC has additionally sought the Tree Authority’s permission to cut over 200 trees. It will also be cutting around 547 trees for launching of shafts and other ancillary work.
The Kandivali sports complex is lined with trees. While the transplanted trees are painted with alphanumeric codes to identify them, it is difficult for a layperson to tell them apart from other trees. “We have given them codes based on the place of origin. We know which are our trees. Outsiders do not need to know which trees are planted by us,” he said. In contrast, trees planted by GVK International Airport have been clearly marked by a board at the entrance.