Mumbai: A Mumbai-based gynecologist accused the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of disrupting and 'poisoning' a palm tree to increase the visibility of a commercial hoarding near Marine Drive.
Calling it illegal' in nature, the doctor claimed that the hoarding is next to an already existing hoarding in the listed heritage Marine Drive precinct Netaji Subhash Marg and falls between Marine Drive and Charni Road railway stations.
According to a report by TOI, BMC authorities said that the hoarding was not under their purview but instead under the railways. Railway authorities in the past have said that the municipal corporation's rule does not apply to them and did not comment on the condition of the trees when asked.
Marine Drive was declared a heritage precinct by the state in the year 2015 and since then locals have been pointing out that it was illegal to have hoardings in the area.
The gynac had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the year 2002 in the Bombay High Court to stop proliferation of hoardings that violated the BMC’s own policy guidelines.
“This illegal hoarding which has been constructed practically touches an existing hoarding even though there are clear guidelines which state that there should be a 100 metres distance between two hoardings. I saw them erect this hoarding in September first and they have even started advertising on it. I was shocked to see holes drilled into a palm tree leading it to die. I have pictures which I shot myself to keep a record of their act,” said Pundole, adding that she knew that they would play mischief with this tree. “They have drilled holes into the tree from the back thinking no one would notice,” she said as quoted by TOI.
When contacted a civic license department senior official said that in case of hoardings for which the BMC gives permissions the 100 metre distance rule is always followed. “Public safety is a huge concern as in case of any part of it haphazardly falling down there is a fear of it causing a casualty.” said the official. When contacted, the CPRO of Western Railway Sumit Thakur said that if such was the case the heritage committee would have raised objections. “There has been no violation of heritage rules. As far as the tree is concerned, the same is likely to have naturally dried up. Railways has always promoted green initiatives instead,” he said.