The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), on Tuesday, decided to extend the agreement of its geo-enabled tree census and cover the entire area under the civic body’s jurisdiction for the same. At least forty lakh trees have been included in the census so far.
The civic administration had begun the tree census in 2016 and appointed a private agency to execute work for the same. It was the first time that the PMC had undertaken a geo-enabled tree census, making use of geographic information system (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS) technology.
“A total of 40 lakh trees were covered in the tree census in the stipulated two years. However, about 42 square kilometre area, including an estimated 11 lakh trees, is yet to be covered under the census,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Kunal Khemnar.
The tree census was conducted by agency SAAR IT Resources Pvt Ltd, which recently offered to cover the left out areas at the rate of Rs 22.70 per tree – the rate that was also applicable in the earlier exercise. This proposal was approved by the standing committee of the PMC on Tuesday.
A review of the tree census was also done by the tree authority committee, which recommended continuing the tree census to cover the entire city area, including the 11 villages merged in the PMC in 2017.
Regarding the extension of agreement for the tree census with the existing agency, the legal advisor had stated, ”The corporation is bound to complete the census of trees of the entire city in compliance with the provisions of the law. It is impracticable to do the work of tree census in piecemeal. Thus, the PMC should complete the tree census from the same agency to have uniformity in the work.”
“The PMC would require an additional Rs 2.49 crore to do the census of 11 lakh trees in the civic jurisdiction,” said Khemnar, adding that the civic body has spent Rs 9.08 crore on the exercise so far.
PMC officials said that the integration of botanical information with information technology (IT) applications will be useful to local residents of the city, researchers as well as public authorities. The civic administration also expects the tree count to increase further in view of the tree plantation drives conducted over the last few years. Further, the PMC is also set to merge 23 more villages in its jurisdiction.