BMC VS Tree Lovers: Battle Over Pre-Monsoon Tree Trimming In Mumbai's H West Ward

BMC VS Tree Lovers: Battle Over Pre-Monsoon Tree Trimming In Mumbai's H West Ward

The BMC, through its garden department, has commenced the pruning of trees and elimination of dead or perilous branches in readiness for the impending monsoon season.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Thursday, April 11, 2024, 10:34 PM IST
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Mumbai: Mumbai's civic body, the BMC, is entangled in a heated dispute with local residents and passionate tree advocates over its annual pre-monsoon tree trimming initiative in the H West ward. While the BMC underscores the necessity of this endeavor for public safety, opposition from citizens, notably in Santa Cruz, remains fervent, with concerns pivoting around the conservation of trees.

The BMC, through its garden department, has commenced the pruning of trees and elimination of dead or perilous branches in readiness for the impending monsoon season. Jitendra Pardeshi, Superintendent of the BMC's Garden Department said, "Every year, the city sees fatal incidents caused by falling trees/branches, particularly during the monsoon due to strong winds and heavy rains. To prevent such tragedies, trimming overloaded branches and removing dead or dangerous trees/branches is crucial for citizen safety."

The Assistant Superintendent of Gardens in H West ward wrote to the Bandra and Santacruz police stations, highlighting obstruction from activists and tree lovers during pre-monsoon trimming. They requested police cooperation to ensure the smooth execution of this essential activity. An official from BMC's garden department said, "Each year, we encounter obstacles during tree trimming, but we always operate with proper permissions and prioritize Mumbai citizens' safety. Seeking support from Mumbai police, we've asked Khar, Bandra, and Santacruz police stations to aid us in completing the trimming efficiently before the monsoon."

Tree Lovers Voice Concerns

However, residents and tree lovers in Santacruz have voiced objections to the trimming, expressing apprehensions regarding potential tree loss. They argue that while safety is paramount, indiscriminate trimming could jeopardize the city's verdant canopy. Zoru Bathena, Mumbai's tree warrior, queried the BMC's approach, particularly its efforts to restrict police intervention in response to citizen grievances, he said, "The BMC H West Ward's request to police not to enforce the law raises concerns. Is the BMC above the law? Can they arbitrarily cut trees? Section 20A of the Trees Act, 1975, mandates police to prevent illegal tree cutting. We urge the Tree Authority to retract these letters and enforce strict permission protocols for tree trimming. Permission must be shown to the public when requested."



Residents of H West ward stress that BMC cannot cut any tree or branch without prior written permission. They emphasize that every tree and branch must have specific authorization before trimming. Tree lovers have also urged Mumbai Police to prevent illegal tree cutting and ensure police protection for all trees as required by law. "If the BMC diligently follows regulations, there would be no necessity for police intervention," said resident. They call on the police to disregard BMC's unlawful requests and provide necessary protection to each tree when requested.

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