Express Impact Presidents office clarifies it had nothing to do with branches of trees on campus being cut down ahead of her visit
The office of President Pratibha Patil on Thursday said it had no role in cutting down 40 branches of trees at the College of Agriculture in Pune ahead of her visit to the campus to inaugurate a new building. Reacting to the The Indian Express report on Wednesday,the Presidents spokesperson Archana Dutta said,The President is an admirer of green causes. She has taken several initiatives to promote greenery. The Presidents office had not given any instruction for cutting branches of trees for security reasons. The decision was taken at the local level. The President has nothing to do with it.
Meanwhile,the College authorities issued a clarification saying they do not have any intention to remove any branches other than the 40 that had already been chopped off. The institute had applied for and received permission from the garden department of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to cut over 100 branches of about 59 trees.
Those trees have never been pruned resulting in unbalanced framework. At the same time,some branches had been affected by stem borer and malformation weakening the stem that might have caused accidents on the road. This necessitated pruning of the said tree.The college had approached the PMC and received permission to remove unhealthy branches. Only 40 branches have been pruned and there is no intention to remove any more, said a statement issued by college principal and Associate Dean Dr B R Ulmek.
The statement also reiterated that despite due care,the trees the college had transplanted when new buildings had come up could not survive as they were old and had tap root system (and are tough to transplant). The Indian Express had reported that despite a Bombay High Court order to transplant 21 trees,the college authorities had not transplanted all of them and those that were transplanted had died for want of proper care and/or improper transplantation technique. The trees were regularly watered and fungicide drenching was regularly done. However,(even) existing trees are not healthy and are showing declining symptoms. Two plants have died, Ulmek said in the letter,adding that the college had planted over 1,500 trees in the last few years.