Mumbai: Tree lovers Upset Over Iconic 300-Year-Old Baobab Tree’s Felling On SV Road In Santacruz

Mumbai: Tree lovers Upset Over Iconic 300-Year-Old Baobab Tree’s Felling On SV Road In Santacruz

The residents and tree lovers will carry out a silent protest to give farewell to the oldest tree on Sunday morning. They are also planning to file a PIL in the High Court (HC) against the BMC and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for permitting the cutting of this tree.

SHEFALI PARAB-PANDITUpdated: Saturday, May 04, 2024, 02:29 AM IST
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Mumbai: The chopping of a 300-year-old Baobab tree for Mumbai Metro 2 B’s work on SV Road in Santacruz has upset many tree lovers. The iconic tree was cut down and the surrounding road was concreted within a day, as per residents. The residents and tree lovers will carry out a silent protest to give farewell to the oldest tree on Sunday morning. They are also planning to file a PIL in the High Court (HC) against the BMC and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for permitting the cutting of this tree.

The rare Mumbai baobab tree was chopped off on April 27 to carry out Metro 2 B works. MMRDA is carrying out the work from DN Nagar to Mandale and the line passes through SV Road. Though the Metro officials claimed that the tree was cut with all permissions and procedures in place, the move infuriated the Santacruz citizens.

Residents said that the authorities should have considered relocating the tree as it is a rare species. The Baobab is native to tropical Africa. Dr Ashok Kothari, former secretary of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said, “We will file a complaint against the authorities at the Santacruz police station on Sunday.”

The saplings of these trees were bought by traders from Madagascar in Africa and planted by the Portuguese. The trees keep the area cool and their huge canopies are equivalent to those of many young trees. The residents felicitated the tree as the oldest citizen of Santacruz to create awareness of its age and stature. An activist, Aditi Jayakar said, “None of us had a whiff of their plans to chop the tree down. If we did, then at least we would have fought for its transplantation.”

Dr Arun Sawant, president of the National Society of the Friends of the Trees (FoT) said, “As per Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, every citizen has the right to protect their environment. They have the option of transplantation, instead they chopped the tree overnight. This action is itself criminal. The police have denied us permission to carry out a protest. We would brief the media in the police station itself where they can’t stop us. We will also take up the matter with HC.”

Former environment minister of Maharashtra and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray had also slammed the Eknath Shinde-led state government for chopping down the tree.

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