Pune: ARAI Under Fire For Damaging Tree Roots During Trench Digging

Pune: ARAI Under Fire For Damaging Tree Roots During Trench Digging

The Free Press Journal tried to contact the management of ARAI but did not get any response

Indu BhagatUpdated: Wednesday, July 03, 2024, 04:28 PM IST
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Pune: ARAI Under Fire For Damaging Tree Roots During Trench Digging | X/@sushmadate

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) recently sent a letter to the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), an R&D Institute affiliated with the Ministry of Heavy Industries, Government of India.

The letter was sent regarding the damage to tree roots on Vetal Tekdi caused by digging trenches with excavators on June 12 to clear out a gutter along the side of the road leading from the ARAI gate.

Dr Sushma Date from Vetal Tekdi Bachav Samiti, who is working to save eco-sensitive forest areas, highlighted that she complained to the forest department. An official from the department informed her that ARAI falls under the forest department's jurisdiction, but the road comes under PMC's jurisdiction. She further contacted the garden department of PMC, and they took cognisance of the issue. After 10 days of filing the complaint, PMC sent a letter to ARAI.

"I received a complaint by the Tekdi walkers around June 12-14, that the roots of small plants and shrubs were uprooted and the roots of the bigger trees were exposed due to digging trenches, their roots were exposed so I contacted the forest officials and then PMC officials and a complaint was filled and the civic body sent a letter to ARAI," Date said.

She highlighted this matter on X (formerly Twitter) claiming, "This is not the first time that ARAI has shown complete disregard for the sensitive ecosystem which they've been occupying since 1974. In 2015, in clear violation of the Forest Conservation Act, ARAI cleared trees & shrubs on 1.36 Ha of reserve forest land on Vetal Tekdi to build a steering pad without informing the forest department. A labour camp was set up, which is also illegal in this zone. Forest department filed a complaint against them in October 2015, after I reported it."

The letter sent by PMC to ARAI reads, "When we went to the site and inspected it, a groove had been dug along the road to allow water to flow. The roots of the trees are exposed while digging the trench. This has caused damage to the trees. Therefore, action should be taken against ARAI under the Maharashtra (Urban Area) Preservation and Protection of Trees Act, 1975. Disclosure should be made within eight days of receiving the said letter, otherwise, further action will be taken."

Anil Sabale, tree inspector, PMC, said, "After receiving the complaint, we went to the hills and inspected the damage done and we got to know that due to heavy rains, there was a waterlogging situation on the road, and a few accidents happened on that stretch, so ARAI decided to dig and make a trench for water to flow, but they didn't keep a supervisor who can keep a check if plants and trees are not being uprooted or their roots are exposed. We have sent a warning letter and we haven't got any response from them."

The Free Press Journal tried to contact the management of ARAI but did not get any response.

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