Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has received more than 1,700 tree cutting notices across the city in 2018. Tree activists and environmentalists have alleged the corporation issued permissions to allow cutting trees that did not require to be pruned or trimmed in the first place.
The corporation has received 1,741 tree-cutting notices from January 1 of the year. The figures are as of June 17. “We keep a check on each notice sent to the BMC for tree cutting in order to expose the scam that has been going on,” alleged Zoru Bhatena, a tree activist, adding that the already-staggering number may well be much more. “These are only some of the notices we have seen. There are hundreds of notices filed by individuals and societies which we have not yet recorded. Many of the trees have already been cut, then it is a mystery how so many tress are falling,” said Zoru. Tree activists say these numbers are for only tree-cutting notices and not trimming or pruning.
There were as many as 21 tree fall complaints registered in a day’s spell of rains on Sunday itself. However, the official from Disaster Management Department defended saying, ‘No injuries were reported in these tree falls.” Another environmentalist accused the BMC of chopping those trees which have no chance to fall for another 15 years. “The BMC chops these sturdy trees and leaves the ones on the verge of falling untouched. That is the only conclusion one can make out since there are so many trees falling across the city,” Hiren Joshi.
The environmentalists say the city does not witness cyclone-like winds which can uproot trees to this extent as is being witnessed. In March 2017, the National Green Tribunal had ruled that over pruning trees is dangerous and it is one of the most common mistake made in tree maintenance.
In the one week of rains, already four deaths due to tree fall have been registered. A 50-year-old person died after a tree branch came crashing down on him at Andheri last week. A 13-year-old girl, Drushti Mungra, had died after a coconut tree fell on her in Dahisar whereas last month another 90-year-old woman died after a tree crashed onto her near Banganga in Walkeshwar. In April, a 38-year-old Dinesh Sangle had died after a tree, also a Gulmohar tree fell on him in Dadar.