Mumbai: BMC delays appointment of tree authority members

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday through a public advertisement has extended the deadline for applicants interested to be appointed as nominated members for the tree authority committee. The extended deadline for applications is now, March 2.  This move is likely to delay many infrastructure projects in the city, as the permissions for tree felling and transplanting are pending.

The problem will get further delayed once the election code of conduct is announced, which is expected next month. Even after the required applicants are nominated as members to the tree authority committee, every tree felling proposal has to be first tabled in a meeting and is approved by a majority vote. Once the election code of conduct comes is implemented, they cannot approve any new proposals.

The Bombay High Court (HC) in October 2018, ruled the tree authority constituted by the BMC was illegal, since it was bereft of tree experts and had restrained the corporation from granting permissions to fell or transplant since that date. The tree authority consists of 15 members, including 13 corporators, chairman of the Garden Department and the commissioner of BMC.

However, new rules introduced in December 14, 2009 mandated that a member of the Tree Authority must be a registered with the social forestry department. Since the social forestry department has no Non-Governmental Organisation registered under it, the authority was formed without any tree experts.  Moreover, the environmentalist, Zoru Bhathena has filed an objection and demanded a fresh notice for the appointment of nominated members to the tree authority.

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