Mumbai: After Notice From HC, BMC To Remove Decorative Lights From Trees

Mumbai: After Notice From HC, BMC To Remove Decorative Lights From Trees

The LED lighting was installed on trees over the VIP and Express Highway route for Beautification of Mumbai city during the G-20 summit last year. The circular to remove the wires, lighting and high tension cables from the tree were sent to 17 civic wards on Tuesday.

SHEFALI PARAB-PANDITUpdated: Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 12:16 AM IST
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FPJ

Mumbai : A week after receiving notice from the Bombay High Court (HC), the civic authorities instructed the civic wards to ensure that the decorative lights are removed from the trees within the next seven days. The LED lighting was installed on trees over the VIP and Express Highway route for Beautification of Mumbai city during the G-20 summit last year. The circular to remove the wires, lighting and high tension cables from the tree were sent to 17 civic wards on Tuesday.

As a part of its beautification plan, the BMC has wrapped lights and illuminated trees in the city and suburbs. Several trees, especially in Malabar Hill, Walkeshwar and Breach Candy, have been lit up for the last few months. On April 10, the HC issued notices to the Maharashtra government, and the tree authorities in Mumbai, Thane and Mira-Bhayander seeking their response to a public interest litigation (PIL) petition highlighting light pollution and other ill-effects of excessive use of decorative lights on trees and other organisms dependent on the trees. The HC has asked the state and the Tree authorities to file their reply in four weeks.

The BMC had earlier too received flak from citizens and activists for wrapping wires, lighting and high tension cables around the trees in the city. The circular issued by the BMC on Tuesday states, "Direction received from the additional municipal commissioner (city) to remove all installed HD chain lighting by the M & E department from the tree within seven days. In view of this, the assistant commissioner of concerned wards is therefore requested to extend co-operations to appointed contractor M/s. ASC Power pvt. Ltd. for removal of tree lighting installed by chief engineer (M & E)."

In May 2023, BMC installed LED lights on 15,000 trees dotting five roads in Juhu and Worli for G20, as per sources.Vinod Gholap from Fight for Right Foundation said, “The BMC could have saved lakhs of rupees that were wasted on illuminating trees and could have been used on increasing the green cover in the city. The lights disturb the nocturnal birds, we should have some sensitivity towards such creatures."

Several trees have been draped / wrapped with bright lighting and high-tension wires since November 2023. So, a Thane-resident and an environmental activist, Rohit Joshi, had issued legal notices to the authorities in Mumbai, Thane and Mira-Bhayander explaining the dangers caused by placing / fixing / draping and installing lights on trees. As he did not receive any reply. He filed the PIL seeking strict implementation of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act which stipulates protection of trees from burning, felling and damage.

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