Two proposed infrastructure projects are set to cost Mumbai more than 1,600 trees. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has published a public notice stating 1,004 trees would be felled or transplanted for the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) that is being constructed from Sewri to Nhava Sheva. At least 631 trees will also be affected due to the proposed Kurla-Vakola elevated road project, it said.
Both projects are being executed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Department Authority. The public notice comes days after the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP rejected a proposal — tabled before the Tree Authority on Tuesday for final approval — to fell more than 2,700 trees in Aarey Milk Colony, Goregaon east, for the proposed Metro car shed.
According to the civic body’s public notice, 454 trees falling in way of the MTHL project — a 21.8-km-long bridge set to ease the connectivity between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai — will be cut and another 550 trees will be transplanted at some other locations. The notice said another 299 trees will felled and 332 others transplanted for the Kurla-Vakola elevated road.
The BMC has invited suggestions and objections from the citizens in the matter. A hearing will be held on August 22 in Byculla at Garden Superintendent’s office, it has said. Apart from the two infrastructure projects, another public notice of removal of 62 dead and dangerous trees has also been issued. Suggestions and objections for the same have been also invited from the public.
Green activists have claimed that with the fresh public notices on removing 1,635 trees, the total number of trees to be cut or transplanted between January 1 and August 16 have touched 10,489. “As per these figures, so far, on an average 44 tree cutting notices per day have been put out by the civic body,” activist Zoru Bhathena said.
Referring to MTHL, Bhathena said, “Last year when the work was started at Sewri, I had filed an RTI on trees to be cut due to this project. But the reply was negative and only mangroves were mentioned. However, now the BMC notice says that over 1,000 trees will be affected. This Environment Impact Assessment, Ministry of Environment, did not mention removal of any trees. I will file objections before the garden department.”
An official from the garden department said, “As per the Tree Authority norms, we have invited suggestions and objections. We will give a hearing to people’s concerns on August 22 and all the suggestions will be included and tabled in Tree Authority for the final approval.”