TAKING NOTE of the haphazard concretisation at the base of trees during road repairs, resurfacing and reconstructions across the city, the BMC has issued a circular to its road department, asking it to maintain a minimum of 1-metre space around the tree trunks so as to allow them to breathe.
The instruction will be implemented in the ongoing and proposed works and also in any new tree plantation drive undertaken by the BMC, sources said. Officials said over 300 road repair and resurfacing works are being carried out across the city at present.
The circular was issued on December 5 by the deputy municipal commissioner in charge of the gardens department, Dr Kishor Kshirsagar, to director (engineering and special services). It stated: “…it is observed that while while widening/resurfacing improvement of roads there is no space left around the trees. It result in lack of breathing space for trees which is very much 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).”
“In such condition, trees are not being properly grown and become weak gradually,” it added.
A senior official from the Gardens department said, “The National Green Tribunal had earlier directed that there should be 1 m of space area around the tree trunks for better growth to preserve and protect trees. All concerned departments have been requested to take necessary precautions. It is also mandatory as per the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation and Prevention of Tree Act, 1975.”
Some officials, however, expressed reservation towards the circular’s implementation. “In June last year, similar instructions were issued but was hardly implemented. We have issued another circular and this time, and also asked the vigilance department to keep a watch on ongoing and upcoming works,” said an official.
Welcoming the move, tree activist Zoru Bhathena said: “It is good to see BMC issuing such directions but implementation is the key. I hope the instructions are enforced to protect and promote the much needed roadside tree cover.”
Earlier, the NGT had directed the BMC from to remove the concrete bases around trees. It was found to be the main reason behind falling of trees in the city.