The special tree-saving campaign organised by the garden department of the BMC from April 18 to April 23 -- the ‘Vruksha Sanjivani Abhiyan’ (tree revival drive) -- came a cropper at Chandivli last week. While the campaign was underway outside Boomerang Business Centre at Farm Road, Chandivli, a tree fell. Was it the tree that was holding the wires or were the wires supporting the tree are questions that are now moot.
Residents have alleged that instead of removing the cables and wires around the tree, the BMC chopped the whole tree; on Twitter, pictures of the incident were retweeted several times. @mulund_info was the first to share pics of the said tree, tweeting: As they say “Na rahega baans, na bajegi bansuri !” Hey @mybmcWardL the Complaint was to remove wires which were affecting the tree, you chopped the tree instead.
Environment activist Zoru Bhathena, who was tagged by another user, responded: From photos it looks like the tree base has snapped (hence tree has fallen) Doubt it has any connection with the wires tied to it. But more details can be verified only by a site visit. This photo looks like the base of a fallen tree, one with no roots left to support it.
Officials of the BMC Garden Department have refuted the allegation. An official told the FPJ on condition of anonymity, “The trunk of the tree in question was decomposed and hollow within. The tree was standing because there were hundreds of wires tied to it. When we removed the wires, the entire tree collapsed. It has been removed from the spot.”
Further, the official added, “It was a Gulmohar tree. We will plant another in the same place.”
Until April 21, the garden department had removed the cement concrete base from around 983 trees, 1,325 advertisement boards and 94 kilos of nails from the barks of 6,178 trees across the city. Many NGOs, school and college students and employees of the garden department had participated in this drive.
Only recently, Mumbai was declared one of the world’s tree cities by Arbor Day Foundation, an American non-profit membership organisation dedicated to planting trees. Civic officials said in several cases, concretised bases, which prevent the growth of trees, had been replaced with fertile soil. Advertising banners stuck to trees with nails also harm them and have been removed from scores of trees, along with power and digital TV cables.