Issuing a public notice on Tuesday, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) stated that it is set to expand the existing Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Municipal General Hospital (Centenary Hospital), Kandivli (West), to an adjoining plot and an environment clearance certificate has been procured by the civic body to start the construction work.
For the construction of the building, a total of 842 trees will be affected, out of which 149 trees will be cut and 693 trees will be transplanted. According to senior officials of the civic body, a separate building of the hospital will be constructed in order to expand the hospital into a neighbouring plot. The new building will house various multi speciality departments alongside a dedicated training centre.
In March 2019, BMC had floated the proposal for felling the trees. An expert panel was appointed and the matter was tabled at a tree committee meeting. After this, BMC approached the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, seeking an environment clearance for the project.
Sources in the civic body informed that environment clearance was issued to the civic body in June, 2020.
"The EIA clearance certificate has been issued after taking a detailed report about the project and surveying the plot. We have all the valid documents and the civic body and hospital authority will be transplanting double the number of trees for the number of trees that would be cut," said a senior official of BMC.
Environment activists have taken an issue of the felling of so many trees for extending an hospital. Environment activist Zoru Bhathena had offered the civic body alternative suggestions when BMC had floated the proposal in 2019. "The plot on which the hospital will be expanded has a massive tree cover. There are a lot of open spaces in Kandivali where BMC could have easily built the hospital," Stalin D, environmentalist and director of NGO Vanashakti told the Free Press Journal.
For the project, trees like Ashok, Peepal, Mango and coconut will be felled.