Posted On Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 11:29:40 PM
The miserable situation of tree cover in the city has come to fore with Pune Municipal Corporation berating the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission’s (JNNURM) special cell for not allotting it space to plant trees.
The PMC took this stance after the Bombay High Court (HC) issued a notice to the civic body directing it to submit a report on re-plantation of trees.
The Central government has been releasing funds to Pune under the JNNURM Programme for improving infrastructure. Work on 34 roads is on in the city and this falls under JNNURM’s special cell.
The Tree Authority had given permission to remove old trees which came in the way of road widening or construction. A total of 6,703 trees were cut since 2005.
Against those, PMC had to re-plant a 20,100 trees in the city, nearly thrice the number of trees that were felled.
Last week, HC rapped PMC after the civic body sought permission to cut trees on the Kondhwa-Hadapsar stretch. The court ordered the PMC to plant 222 trees before seeking permission to cut 74 trees.
While filing an application to seek permission, PMC assured the court that it would plant three times the number of trees it will cut for the road work.
But Opposition party lawyer Preetam Kildekar took strong objection to this move and told the court that PMC had already chopped large number of trees, and that they have not planted trees in compensation.
Justices Jaynarayan Patel and Bhushan Gawai ordered PMC to plant 222 trees before seeking permission.
Blame game begins
Smarting after the court’s rap, the Garden department wrote a letter to JNNURM cell stating that: “The Tree Authority committee had given permission to cut a trees that obstructed the road widening work.
But we had clearly mentioned while giving permission that you will have to plant three times the number of trees that are cut.
We had even reminded your department to leave space for re-plantation of trees while constructing roads. But your department did not do that. Therefore, we could not plant trees along the road side.
And we are facing flak from citizens.”
Previous court directives
On July 9, 2009, a High Court bench of Justices J N Patel and Mridula Bhatkar passed a final order for cutting trees which mentioned that the civic body will first have to submit a report on the re-plantation of trees before seeking permission to chop trees for various infrastructural works.
On May 6, 2009, HC directed PMC not to cut trees without its permission. The court order said: “By way of ad interim order we direct the municipal corporation not to permit felling or cutting of trees within the municipal limits of PMC without obtaining approval of this court.”
The court had issued this order on the application filed by Deepak Vahikar and Shailesh Gandhi.