The Bombay High Court’s junior tree committee, in its November report, has said 30-35 per cent trees that were transplanted for the Metro 3 project have died. “The Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) stated that there are many trees transplanted at various sites, in spite of transplantations there is no sprouting… The 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 report states.
The committee, which surveyed around 700 transplanted trees, submitted the report to the High Court on Tuesday in its fourth meeting. The report was prepared after members of the committee visited the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ alignment and 16 transplantation sites across the city.
Even as the administration strives towards making the city open defecation-free, the report mentions that the transplantation site at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Kurla “is frequented by the local slumdwellers for answering nature’s call”. “There is stinking smell everywhere. It is difficult to inspect the site and it may be difficult for the officials of the authority to take care of the trees,” reads the report.
According to the report, of the 740 transplanted trees, 191 trees have shown no signs of sprouting. Of the 1727 trees that the MMRC proposed to cut and 1,074 trees it proposed to transplant, 261 trees remain to be cut and 839 trees are left to be transplanted. “It is submitted no proper distance is maintained between the two newly planted trees. The trees planted at Aarey colony are thickly planted. Proper care by MMRCL need to be taken in future while planting new trees,” the report adds.
“The trees do not have any identification marks as well. There is no way to know where they were brought from or when they were planted,” said Zoru Bhathena, the petitioner.
“During the meeting we also pointed out to the judges that the MMRC should have planted 2,439 new trees till date, however not even a few hundred were planted so far,” he added. The MMRC remained unavailable for comment.