Concerns have been raised in Pune as over 70 environmentalists, civil society organizations, and concerned citizens gathered at the Tree Authority of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to address objections related to extensive tree felling on Ganeshkhind Road on Saturday. The objections primarily focus on issues such as the anticipated increase in vehicular traffic, road designs that neglect non-motorised transport, declining air quality in Pune, and the cutting of trees for road widening without proper design proposals.
Key demands and concerns include the public disclosure of the final proposed road design, adherence to the Comprehensive Mobility Plan for the incorporation of footpaths, designated cycle tracks, and adequate tree cover. Additionally, there are calls for the revision of designs to preserve more trees during road widening and access to traffic and environmental impact assessment reports for ongoing development projects. The resumption of a tree census providing detailed information about trees across the city is also urged, along with transparency on the location and procedures for transplanting trees due to development.
Tree officer assures the activists
Despite claims that trees within 3 meters from the edge would be retained, a scrutiny revealed that 16 of the 87 trees marked for cutting were within this distance, raising questions about the accuracy of the survey. In response, the Tree Officer agreed to mark a 3-meter line for clarity.
Authorities, including Ravi Khandare (Assistant Municipal Commissioner /Tree Officer, PMC), Dinkar Gojare (Executive Engineer, PMC), and Suresh Gathe (Junior Engineer, PMC), addressed the concerns during the gathering. Additional queries were raised regarding PMC's future plans for regulating traffic congestion and mobility, especially in light of the ongoing MahaMetro project implementation.