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5,012 trees to be affected due to Metro III: RTI

Saturday, January 14, 2017
By Sonali Telang

According to statistics provided by the MMRC, 30 per cent of the trees along the alignment which includes stations, entry and exit will be cut and 70 per cent of them will be transplanted in entirety.  As for depots, 30 per cent trees will be chopped down and 40 per cent will be transplanted. However, Aarey Colony faces the most appalling axing of trees where 254 trees will be cut for the proposed metro car shed along with 2,044 trees being booked for transplantation which will be raised within the colony.

Earlier this week, the Afternoon D&C reported that about 1,927 proposals of tree-cutting have been cleared by the Tree Authority of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation between 2010 and 2016. While the number of trees chopped during this period of seven years may exceed 20,000, it is even more remarkable that Mumbai will lose around 5,000 trees for merely one metro line among seven other lines this year.

While the tree lovers and concerned residents have been pleading the Metro rail authorities to pursue the ambitious Mumbai Metro Rail project with minimal damage to trees, in the process, an RTI reply reveals that 5,012 trees will be affected throughout Mumbai ahead of the construction of Metro line III.

The RTI filed by activist, Zoru Bhathena sought information on the total number of trees that will be cut and transplanted in the Mumbai city due to the metro project which includes construction of every metro line and car sheds. However, the reply by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) revealed the fate of trees along the Metro line III route. According to the RTI reply, 1,331 trees will be cut throughout the route while 3,681 trees will be transplanted.

“An environmental assessment report for Metro line III published by the MMRDA in 2012, stated that only 1,745 trees will be affected, however, the number has increased to three times now,” said Zoru Bhathena.

As per the information given by the MMRC in the RTI reply, several trees across different metro stations throughout the Metro line III will be transplanted in Aarey Colony along with other few sites. Time and again, it has been observed that the transplantation drive has failed drastically due to the lack of regular care and suitable surroundings. “They plan to replant trees at areas completely different from where they will be removed. It appears that the concept of TDR has corrupted the entire government into thinking that even trees can be removed from South Mumbai and moved to North Mumbai. It is also interesting to note that there is no mention of the metro shed at Cuffe Parade in their reply,” said Zoru Bhathena. The Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ metro line, famously referred to as Metro line III has been divided into seven packages in the RTI reply, where the trees of Package 7 which include Marol Naka, MIDC and SEEPZ stations and a car shed in Aarey Colony will suffer maximum damage. While 32 trees will be cut along the line of these metro stations, 295 trees will be transplanted.

According to statistics provided by the MMRC, 30 per cent of trees along the alignment which includes stations, entry and exit will be cut and 70 per cent of them will be transplanted in entirety.  As for depots, 30 per cent trees will be chopped down and 40 per cent will be transplanted. However, Aarey Colony faces the most appalling axing of trees where 254 trees will be cut for the proposed metro car shed along with 2,044 trees being booked for transplantation which will be raised within the colony.

Trees of Package 3 which includes Mumbai Central, Mahalaxmi, Science Museum, Acharya Aatrey Chowk and Worli metro stations will also be impacted drastically with 285 trees being cut and 359 trees being transplanted. Meanwhile, Package 1 which includes Cuffe Parade, Vidhan Sabha, Churchgate and Hutatma Chowk will lose 672 trees with 318 being transplanted.

The total cost of compensatory afforestation and fencing works out to Rs 10.595 million. Meanwhile, the native plant species recommended for afforestation includes Gulmohar, Neem, Pilkhan, Ashoka, Jamun and Desi Badam.

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