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Revamp at cost of greenery: World Cup to pack 36 trees off Wankhede

When Mumbai’s favourite cricketing haunt,the Wankhede stadium,gets a revamp to host the 2011 World Cup,the green cover surrounding the stadium will have been considerably reduced.

Written by Shweta Desai | Mumbai | Published: January 6, 2009 12:17:28 am

When Mumbai’s favourite cricketing haunt,the Wankhede stadium,gets a revamp to host the 2011 World Cup,the green cover surrounding the stadium will have been considerably reduced. After already removing 41 trees in July last year,another 36 trees will be cut to make way for the stadium revamp.

Being a part of the heritage precinct of Marine Drive,the stadium is nestled in the green cover on the rear of the Western Railway periphery. However,for the reconstruction of the North and South side stands,some more trees will have to be removed from their existing locations.

According to the proposal,which has been tabled with the Tree Authority and will be taken up for approval on Wednesday,36 trees will be removed to carry out reconstruction of the North and South stands. These include Rain,Ashoka,Coconut,Mango,Neem,Indian Rubber,Fig and Gulmohar trees.

After approval from the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee last year,around 41 trees were removed — 15 were chopped and 26 were re-planted— as they were coming in the way of the new construction work. At present there are 122 trees standing in the vicinity of the Wankhede,of which another 36 will be removed.

To be able to adjust large crowds and prep itself up for the coming cricket World Cup,which India will host jointly with Pakistan and Bangladesh,the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has undertaken reconstruction of the 33-year-old-stadium. The original structure will be demolished and a three-tier structure will be constructed in its place,increasing the stadium’s seating capacity.

The MHCC had approved the proposed revamp of the stadium by restricting the height to 29 m from 18 m. The MCA wanted to raise the height to 35 m and increase the number of seats. The project is being undertaken jointly by architects Shashi Prabhu and P K Das Associates.

Representatives from the Shashi Prabhu firm said that the stadium’s height will be increased vertically. These trees were obstructing the construction and were,therefore,proposed to be removed,they pointed out.

Marine Drive Council Secretary Anil Bhatia,who has been staying in the vicinity of the stadium in Churchgate,said,“These trees are old and have provided a major green cover to the area. Removing or cutting them will definitely reduce the green and have an affect on the periphery of the stadium. It is incumbent for the stadium authorities to plant more trees in the area now,” he argued.

According to the architects,the existing seating capacity of the stadium is around 34,000 and is at two levels. The new stadium will have three tiers and the seating capacity will be increased by 10,000 by adding extra stands on the north (7,000) and south (3,000) side.

There will be more toilets,entry and exit points,seats with foamed bucket chairs,and upgraded dressing rooms for players and VIP enclosures. The estimated cost of the project,expected to be complete by October 2010,is over Rs 100 crore.

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