The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has submitted 32 separate proposals to the civic body’s Tree Authority for cutting and transplanting 6,016 trees for different infrastructure projects. A senior officer from the Authority informed the media that 2,326 trees would be axed for Metro 2A (D N Nagar to Dahisar) and 2B (D N Nagar to Mandalay), and 2,022 trees are supposed to be transplanted for the two Metro lines. For Metro 2A, a total of 749 trees will be axed and 781 trees transplanted, while for Metro 2B, a total of 803 trees will be axed and 1,241 transplanted, the official added. The trees are proposed to be removed for construction of the Metro Bhavan and various upcoming Metro lines. As per the proposals, a total of 2,326 trees are likely to be axed while another 3,693 trees proposed to be transplanted.
Sumaira Abdul Ali Ngo Aawaz to AV, “Every tree that is cut or displaced is loss of habitat for numerous species including birds and animals. MMRDA should plan to minimise such loss of habitat specially in urban areas like Mumbai where the impact of loss of tree cover is felt by so many people. They should also invest in best technologies for transplanting so that the success rate is as high as possible. It is really a tragedy that while investing in technology to build world class Metro systems, we are unable to invest in technology to save our trees through world class transplantation methods which would ensure that our green cover is preserved while building infrastructure.”
For Metro Line 4 (connecting Wadala-Kasarvadavali-Thane) a total of 871 trees will be axed and another 2,265 trees transplanted, he said. Most of these trees fall under the jurisdiction of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) and Thane Tree Authority, while a few trees fall under the jurisdiction of the BMC.
A senior MMRDA officer said, “These trees will be affected due to the proposed infrastructure projects. The MMRDA had submitted these proposals in 2019, but had failed to get approval from the Tree Authority which has affected the progress of work on different infrastructure projects.”
Elsie Gabriel Founder Young Environmentalists Programme and Mentor Climate Reality project USA said, “A large percentage of trees cannot sustain transplantation particularly huge trees. The success rate is very low, There are hardly any Ficus species like peepal and banyan in the Aarey forests which could see slight chances of survival. The forest department should share the statistics of how many trees in the city have survived the compensatory replantation system?”
She further stated, “Consider the carbon footprints offset during transportation and storage, the cumulative stresses that transplanted trees suffer is not worth it. Right from the time they are cut until they become re- established in a new rebirth soul zone, there is no scientific experts who will take responsibility of transplantation of the cut Aarey trees, are there? Multiple stress factors can mean the difference between survival and death for trees. At each stage of the transplanting process, trees are exposed to mechanical shock and vibration that can further disrupt the root system and cause considerable injury.Where will the trees be replanted? An unprepared, unfertile poor site or inadequate care will lengthen this period. Large trees take longer to recover from transplanting than small trees; approximately 1 year of recovery is needed for each inch of diameter. This is not the season to replant!”
The officer added that the MMRDA has planted more than 50,000 trees on 46 hectares of degraded forest land near Kalyan-Shilphata area, 29 km from Mumbai in compensation.