Pune: Normally trees save man and sometimes man saves them too. However, a situation arose in the city, where there was a dilemma of whether to save trees or human lives. It has been solved in favour of the latter.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) preferred human lives over trees and has decided to chop 250 trees along the 10-km stretch of Ambil Odha to avoid human casualties in possible flood situations during the monsoon.
AVOIDING FLASH FLOODS
Last year, flash floods had caused over 20 deaths along the Ambil Odha, which originates in Katraj area and meets Mutha river near the Vaikunth crematorium. Hence, PMC has undertaken work to clean and widen the Ambil Odha to check floods along the nala.
According to PMC officials, PriMove, the contractor tasked with the survey work, has considered 18 metres as the width of the Ambil Odha while surveying nalas across the city. However, it was found that the existing width is 9 metre and most of the trees on its banks have reduced the width of the nala, thus causing obstacles in its natural flow.
PMC drainage department chief superintendent engineer Pravin Gedam said, "We will have to chop trees to clear the Ambil Odha flow during the monsoon. We have removed sludge and garbage from the nala using machinery. Now, we have identified 250 trees along the Ambil Odha, which need to be removed before the monsoon. Last year, most of the trees along the Odha got uprooted and caused obstacle in the flow of floodwater which had inundated the residential areas."
He said, "We have taken permission from the PMC tree department to cut these trees. They have pasted notices on these trees as per the National Green Tribunal directive inviting suggestions and objections from citizens. Once the notice period is over, we will cut the trees and the width of the nala will be increased. Many trees are located in the stream and along its banks. There are 104 trees on a stretch of around 200 metres near Treasure Park society in Sahakarnagar.
MAXIMUM NUMBERS OF TREES AFTER PUNE METRO
PMC, chief garden superintendent Ashoka Ghorpadi said, "We have till date permitted to cut 104 trees. After the Pune metro rail project, we have permitted such a large scale cutting of trees in the city. We have permitted to cut around 2,000 trees."
He said, "We have followed the criteria while issuing the permission. If we were not allowed to cut these trees, it could endanger human life. We experienced this during the monsoon last year along Ambil Odha. All these trees are located on PMC's land and in and around the Ambil Odha."
"We will plant trees in open land and on hilltops and slopes in coming days to compensate for the lost green cover," he assured.
PMC drainage department has completed 80 per cent of Ambil Odha cleaning work with the help of heavy machinery in Sukhsagar Nagar, Nanashaheb Peshwa small dam, Treasure Park Society, Balaji Nagar, Dandekar bridge, Vaikunth crematorium, Lake Town City and Aranyeshwar. PMC has also allocated Rs 20 crore to construct a retaining wall along Ambil Odha. The work will start in June.