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Trees to be Sacrificed for Beautifying Lake Promenade

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Link: Planet Powai Online

By: Special Correspondent

Powai – 10 February 08 : The
beneficiary party, the residents of Powai have always opposed the Powai
Lake beautification project stating that the makeover will destroy its
natural beauty. Despite their ire the beautification project has kicked
off. Recently, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Tree
Authority has passed a proposal to cut 27 trees along the lake. The
trees have now been marked with notices: “This tree is proposed to be
removed as it is coming in the work of the proposed Powai Lake
beautification.” Residents suspect the Projects department’s proposal
to hack the trees is to facilitate a jogging track where once stood the
Scout’s camp area.

In
an email to PP on the notices pasted on the trees recently, Sunish
Subramanian, founder-secretary of PAWS, wrote to the superintendent of
gardens on January 28, requesting realigning of the jogging tracks so
that the trees are spared. “You may send your subordinate along with us
for a site visit so that an alternative way can be planned,” stated the
letter.

Sunish
said, he hadn’t received any communication from the authorities. “In
fact, we have sent the authorities two more letters in the first week
of February but it’s all in vain,” he said, adding, “the markings have
been put up so slyly that in some cases they are completely hidden
behind the branches. Besides the authority also has to make a newspaper
announce, which I’ve not seen yet.”

Vivienne
Chaudhury, a crusading resident and naturalist of Hiranandani Complex
said to media persons, “The jogging tracks are supposed to benefit the
health-conscious people of the area. Ironically, hacking of even one
tree is only going to cause health problems in this already polluted
locality. Jogging tracks are not like driving tracks, they can be
easily constructed around the trees.”

Meanwhile,
Jayraj Phatak, head of the Tree Authority, defended their stand saying,
“We have done a survey and only the trees necessary to be cut for the
beautification will be hacked.” When asked if the trees would be
replanted elsewhere, he said, “I don’t remember. In every meeting, we
pass several proposals to cut trees and I can’t recall which tree is
going to be replanted.” What a reply from a civic head!

However, not ready to allow the hacking of Powai’s last green stretch,
the residents have now decided to demand a public hearing on the
matter. Chaudhaury said, “We are not going to let this happen.
Unfortunately, it is futile to have meetings with the tree authority
since they appear to have no power, whatsoever. But we have to convince
the BMC to save the trees.”

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