Punekars are fiercely opposing the Pune Municipal Corporation's (PMC) decision to clear 80 trees along North Main Road in Koregaon Park, all in the bid to widen the 18-metre road to 24 metres and alleviate traffic congestion.
This 900-metre stretch, spanning from lane number 7 of Koregaon Park to the Kalyani Nagar bridge, has long been a traffic bottleneck, plagued by extreme congestion.
The PMC initiated this move following a tender notice published three months ago, which led to a survey identifying the trees to be felled. Megha Lavand, an engineer in the road department at the Dhole Patil Road ward office, stated that they followed due process. "We need to widen the road on each side by at least 3 metres to reduce traffic congestion. We will cut 24 trees and transplant the remaining 56 to other areas. There is no alternative. We will have to widen the road, otherwise, traffic will continue to get worse," she added.
The civic body commenced work on Wednesday evening, resulting in the felling of numerous trees along one side of the street. The decision sparked immediate opposition from locals, who voiced their discontent about the tree removal in this upscale neighborhood.
Environmentalist Ameet Singh took to X (formerly Twitter) and wrote, "Pune had zero sewage, air pollution, or landfill-related issues until 1990. Yet, within three decades, it produces over 2,200 tons of garbage daily, dumping 163 crore liters of sewage into rivers, with an Air Quality Life Index consistently above 100 for over 200 days a year. All this despite a substantial budget of 10,000 crores for PMC annually. We need to pause development and address these issues first. Stop felling trees. Rethink city development strategies."
Another social media user lamented, "Tress are being cut right, left & centre at Koregaon Park road towards Westin Hotel. The whole pathway which was all green is completely uprooted. Such sorry state of affairs @PMCPune."
Expressing dismay, another user added, "This is gruesome murder in broad daylight & residents are quiet about it. This will intensify the heat island that Koregaon Park already is. Compensatory planting elsewhere is a mere stunt which never becomes a reality."
Check out the tweets below: