Mumbai News: Kandivali Housing Society Cuts Trees, No FIR Despite BMC Plaints

Mumbai News: Kandivali Housing Society Cuts Trees, No FIR Despite BMC Plaints

On January 2, the BMC sent a written complaint to the Samta Nagar police station to investigate the matter of illegal tree cutting by Alica Nagar 6 society

Dhairya GajaraUpdated: Saturday, April 20, 2024, 12:01 AM IST
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FPJ

Even after two complaints from the BMC against a residential society in Kandivali East, the Samta Nagar police have still not booked the society members for illegally cutting trees in its garden. Meanwhile, the society has sacked the gardener, Babulal Kanaujia, who blew the whistle on the illegal activity.

On January 2, the BMC sent a written complaint to the Samta Nagar police station to investigate the matter of illegal tree cutting by Alica Nagar 6 society and book the responsible people under the Protection and Preservation of Trees Act 1975. After a month, the assistant superintendent of gardens R-South ward again wrote to the police to immediately file an FIR in the case.

Land filled with concrete and transformed into a plot

In December 2023, the society’s chairman ordered its gardener to cut all the trees (some of them 20 years old) in the garden. The society filled the land with concrete and transformed it into a plot. The BMC visited the site on December 16 and found that four trees were cut, while one was burnt with its remains still there.

After Kanaujia admitted in front of the police that the chairman had asked him to cut the trees, the society committee asked him to quit the job or work on half his monthly salary.

Kanaujia said, “I have worked in this society for 25 years and have taken care of these trees like my own kids. I was not ready to cut them but I was threatened about my job by the chairman. I told the truth to the police, but they are asking me to quit. When I asked for a written suspension, I was asked about the proof of my employment, which a gardener does not have.”

Shishir Vivekanand Shetty, the co-founder of Lokhandwala Residents Association (LRA), who had written multiple letters to the society and police on this issue, said, “When I suggested to hire a professional tree replacement company, the society’s secretary had agreed and she mentioned sharing the opinion with the chairman. Instead they laid cement stone in the entire area. Now when the illegal act has been caught, they blame it on the gardener.”

The Free Press Journal contacted the society’s chairman Chetan Shah, who denied sacking Kanaujia. “There was some miscommunication regarding the cutting of trees but it has been sorted now. The gardener is still working with us and we are not cutting his salary.”

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