Residents complain against damage to tree roots

Neha Basudkar
Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Kalgutkar said, “When we raised our concern about the tree to those on the construction site, they spoke rudely to us and did not allowed us to check the damage caused to the roots.”

PUNE: Residents of Runwal Surabhi, a residential society in Baner, have registered an online complaint with Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) Garden Department against a private builder for damaging the roots of an old Peepal tree on the land opposite their society. 

The developer is constructing a seven-storey building on the land near Runwal Surabhi society, behind Ranka Jewellers, Baner. 

The massive tree is situated on the border of the construction site. Half of its roots are inside the construction site. The developer took the permission from the PMC to trim seven-eight branches of the tree on February 9. According to Anuprita Kalgutkar, a resident of Runwal Surabhi society, the developer had trimmed four branches of the tree a few days ago.

“Now, they are removing parts of its roots from their side of the construction area. Kalgutkar said, “When we raised our concern about the tree to those on the construction site, they spoke rudely to us and did not allowed us to check the damage caused to the roots.”

The builder did not respond to phone calls by Sakal Times. A senior member of the company, Mahesh Salunkhe, who is the Head of Sales and Marketing Department, said, “As this tree is more than 100 years old, its roots are stretched over a wide area. While constructing a building, when we dig the ground to lay the basic structure to support the building, some of the roots may have got cut by the JCB. But we are not touching the main root.”

Dayanand Ghadge, tree officer and member secretary of the Tree Authority, PMC, said, “We have given the permission to cut the branches in February but we didn’t know that they are also cutting off the roots. After being informed by Kalgutkar, we came to know about it. I will visit the site and take immediate action.”

SAVE OUR TREES
- Pallavi Salunkhe, another resident of the society said, “We have been living here for nine years. The tree is spread wide across the road which gives us shadow and cool breeze. We just want to save the tree.” 
- Residents have also informed the members of Area Sabha Association of Pune (ASAP), a citizens’ forum working for environmental issues. 
- Vaishali Patkar, member of that group, said, “According to the Bombay High Court order, Banyan, Peepal and Nandurki trees are not allowed to be uprooted for any reasons. We will visit the site and talk to the developer and civic officials and come to a conclusion.”

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