'Go Back Modi': Pune Residents Alarm Over Tree Trimming Before PM's Visit, Assert 'We Don't Want Your Visit if Our Trees Are Sacrificed'

'Go Back Modi': Pune Residents Alarm Over Tree Trimming Before PM's Visit, Assert 'We Don't Want Your Visit if Our Trees Are Sacrificed'

Concerns over air quality, disruption of wildlife habitats, and the visual appeal of the area have been prominent among residents' grievances. Authorities are under increasing pressure to provide explanations for the sudden clearance of trees and to address residents' concerns

Indu BhagatUpdated: Sunday, April 28, 2024, 03:03 PM IST
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The tree trimming conducted by the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) in the Camp area has elicited numerous concerns from residents of Pune. The operation spanned from the race course to the Hollywood Gurdwara area, raising eyebrows, especially as it coincided with the Prime Minister's scheduled visit to Pune. Residents have voiced widespread condemnation, expressing worries about the environmental repercussions of extensive tree cutting. 

Concerns over air quality, disruption of wildlife habitats, and the visual appeal of the area have been prominent among residents' grievances. Authorities are under increasing pressure to provide explanations for the sudden clearance of trees and to address residents' concerns. Given the global focus on environmental conservation, the timing and scale of this tree trimming have sparked a contentious debate within the city.

'Go back Modi'

Speaking with The Free Press Journal, Amit Singh, a citizen activist, expressed his concerns, stating, "They are busy felling trees along the route from the Race Course to Hollywood Gurudwara situated in the Camp area. The cutting and trimming of trees are being carried out due to the PM's visit, scheduled for August 29. Pune's temperature is constantly rising due to the loss of trees. Our message to the PM is that we would rather not have you visit us if it means sacrificing our tree cover. You have only come to Pune for successful inaugurations. You have done nothing for Pune. None of our issues have been addressed, and all your development programs have led to massive tree cutting and affected the city's green cover. We love our trees, and we don't want your visit to come at the cost of our trees being cut. We don't want you to visit. Go back, Modi!"

Another resident of the Camp area, Vijaya Suratkal, remarked, "All the trees planted along Kahun Road till the Race Course have had their branches cut. Previously, the trees provided shade along the entire road, offering relief from the scorching summer heat. However, now they have cut off half of the branches disproportionately, which poses a risk of trees falling during the monsoons. The authorities have chopped down more than one lakh trees in a year in the name of riverfront development. According to our calculations, we should have a ratio of 1:8, meaning 8 trees per person, but Pune currently only has a ratio of 1.28 trees per person. We are opposing the PM's visit because they are cutting down all the trees in the name of beautification."

The Free Press Journal attempted to contact Pune District Collector Dr. Suhas Diwase and Subrat Pal, CEO of the Cantonment Board Pune, for comment but was unable to receive their response.

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