Mumbai: Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar launched his ambitious programme to plant 4 crore trees across the State to increase green cover, but it seems that India's financial capital is not aware of the programme. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is issuing permissions to cut minimum seven trees in the city every day.
The Maharashtra government has taken up the task of planting 4 crore trees in the State, while on the other hand, the BMC shockingly issues permission to cut down 7 trees daily. The BMC confessed that the civic body allows cutting seven trees a day through the Right To Information Act (RTI). An RTI Activist, Anil Galgali, sought information about the tree cutting in the city. The information provided by the BMC's Garden Department shows that they gave permission to cut 7,842 trees in the last three years in 2014, 2015 and 2016. According to the figures, seven trees were permitted to be hacked down every day.
According to the information, 3,819 trees were hacked in 2016 itself, which included 1,830 trees from the private land, 1448 trees belonging the government agencies, while BMC itself hacked 541 trees owing to different reasons including paving the way for infrastructural activities.
The reply furnished from the Deputy Superintendent of the Garden Department has claimed that apart from cutting 7,842 trees in the last three years, BMC also transplanted 13,070 trees during the same period. Besides, BMC conducted several tree plantation drives throughout the year in which it planted 49,060 saplings in the said year. In the year 2014, BMC planted 14,253 saplings, 16,157 saplings in 2015 and 18,650 saplings in 2016.
Environment activist Ashok Pandit said that there should be a proper mechanism for transplantation of trees. "The BMC transplants the trees, but the survival rate is very low," said Pandit.
Another activist from Bandra said that BMC is allowing trees to be cut, which is harmful to the city. "The developers and builders are asking permission under the guise of development. The BMC has to keep a proper check on these activities," he said.