Pointing out the failure of the Tree Authority in fulfilling its responsibilities as per law and complying with the Bombay High Court directions, city-based organisation Parisar has urged Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar to take neccessary action to ensure that the authority works as per set rules.
In a letter to Kumar, Ranjit Gadgil of Parisar said that as per Rule 5 of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Rules, 2009 a member shall cease to be a member of the Tree Authority if (i) he fails to attend three consecutive meetings of the Tree Authority.
As per information procured under the Right to Information Act, Gadgil said, “We have found that 8 out of 14 members have failed to attend three consecutive meetings and have, therefore, ceased to be members of the Tree Authority.”
Gadgil said that PMC, in its affidavit to the Bombay High Court, had stated that the total number of members should be fixed at seven and corporators who are science graduates would be preferred.
“Far from being science graduates, we are appalled that barring one member, none of them are even graduates. The PMC claims not to have information about three of the members,” Gadgil added.
It has also been revealed that the Tree Authority has failed to prepare a 10-year Perspective Plan, does not prepare any Annual Tree Plantation Plan, and has not submitted any reports to the PMC as per rules, Gadgil said.
The Tree Authority is also required to prepare and publish a Tree Census every five years. Further, the High Court order specifies that this shall be done using GIS, and using the web application, anyone would be able to see the tree census data.
However, despite claiming that the census is complete, no such web application with data available for public viewing is available. In fact,
the Tree Authority does not even have a basic website, Gadgil said.