Widening of road required removal of 99 trees,now only 64 will be chopped
The initiative by Napean Sea Road residents to save 99 trees from the axe seems to have worked. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to save 35 trees and cut only 64.
The widening of the road required relocation of 57 trees while 99 others are to be chopped to make way for heavy traffic following the opening of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. The road was to be widened so that the 500-metre stretch that is 40 feet wide can be aligned with the rest of the stretch that is 90 feet.
Although residents and school children from the area had urged the BMC to change its widening plans the civic administration has expressed its inability to do the same. We have checked the feasibility of the plan and the trees in the middle of the road cannot be saved. We will not cut the trees on the footpath. 35 trees will be saved, said Chandrakant Chore,Deputy Municipal Commissioner D Ward,in-charge of the widening.
We have tried our best to reduce the number of trees to be chopped. Instead of 99 trees now 64 trees will be cut. On Tuesday residents of Napean Sea Road tied green ribbons round the trees to highlight their demands regarding the road widening project. Civic officials however said that the removal of trees has got the sanction from the Tree Authority.
Meanwhile,the civic administration has acquired a setback area of 5500 sq mt so far from 22 residents. Former Attorney General,Soli Sorabjee,has agreed to part with 450 square metres of land putting an end to a 40-year-old legal battle with the BMC.
The civic administration expects to complete the acquisition of the remaining 1450 sq mt of land in a few days. The Project Affected People will receive an equal amount of Floor Space Index for which they have given their land to BMC which can be used at the spot.
After 16 structures (compound walls) were demolished a few days back residents willingly started handing over their setback area (land on which there is no construction) required for the widening. Once the entire acquisition is complete we will begin laying of water and storm water drain pipelines. It will take two months from then to complete the widening of the road, Chore said. The cost of the road widening is Rs 1.25 crore.
Although residents have been opposing the widening,civic officials maintain that the move is in their good. They will be getting wider road and less traffic. Those who had to part with their land will be given a FSI to be used at the same spot. At current market price FSI in a high profile area like Napean Sea Road will only benefit the residents. Its a win-win situation for them, said a senior civic official.