Following complaints from residents against contractors defying the order to leave a minimum of one-metre space around tree trunks, the BMC has re-issued its December 2018 order to all departments, including vigilance. The original circular was issued on December 5 last year by the then deputy municipal commissioner in charge of the garden department, Dr Kishor Kshirsagar.
The circular stated: “…it is observed that while widening/ resurfacing or improvement of roads, there is no space left around the trees. It results in lack of breathing space for trees which is necessary for respiration and aeration to roots in trees and for its profound growth. And it leads to barrier for growth and maintenance of the trees (sic).”
The instructions were to be implemented in new plantations and ongoing and proposed road reconstruction works in the city. However, after several complaints raised by residents, especially from suburbs, the garden department has recently re-issued the circular, asking the vigilance department to keep a watch on ongoing and upcoming projects across the city.
“It is absolutely necessary to follow this instruction to achieve survival of trees and better maintenance of trees,” read the circular. The National Green Tribunal had earlier directed that there should be at least one-metre of space around the tree trunks for better growth to preserve and protect trees. It is also mandatory as per the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation and Prevention of Tree Act, 1975.
“The rules are blatantly ignored. The concretisation of area around the trees is killing it and increases the danger of tree fall. Only the top layer of the road is decorated to show space for the trees, but at the bottom it is full of concrete and no soil,” said Subhajit Mukherjee, from Green Mumbai Mission, who had also raised the complaint from Kandivali area.
Jitendra Pardeshi, superintendent of garden department, said, “We have re-issued the order a few days back for improving the implementation. We had received one complaint from Borivali area, which was resolved.”