PMC clueless about number of trees in city

Dnyanesh Sawant
Monday, 13 May 2019

Rs 9 crore disbursed to firm for tree census 15 months ago; no report yet

PUNE: Around 15 months ago, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) spent Rs 9 crore to carry out geo-enabled tree census. But till date, the civic body remains clueless about the exact number of trees in Pune. 

The private company appointed to carry out this work is yet to submit the detailed report of its work to PMC’s Tree Authority. 

In 2016, the PMC appointed Saar IT to complete tree census using Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS). Till March 2018, the company identified 26.77 lakh trees. 

However, the Tree Authority Committee have members claimed that no information was shared with them in last one year.
 
The PMC officials have repeatedly said this information will be only available during the next meeting of Tree Authority. 

The officials at Saar IT have not responded to queries related to the ongoing census. 

Several corporators have voiced their concern from time to time on the way the tree census is being conducted. However, the PMC officials insisted on carrying it out. The tender was awarded to Saar IT with an assurance that this task will be completed within the deadline. But since last 15 months, the work is going at a slow pace, said a Tree Authority Committee member.

Aditya Malwe said, “This survey is being done under the guidance of experts and the report of the first phase is already submitted. We are hopeful that the information related to the trees planted during last rainy season will also be made available to us.”

DISAPPEARING TREES
- Number of trees in the city has decreased drastically compared to 2012 (see box on Page 2). 
- Experts feel that due to growing urbanisation, several trees might have disappeared over the last few years following the last survey. 
- According to the PMC officials, this survey will have information related to the exact location of existing trees, their corresponding pictures, local and scientific name, height and circumference of the trees. 
- Upon gathering this information, the sticker will be put on each tree having all these details. 
- The PMC had decided to spend Rs22 per tree.

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