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Trees find no mention in Mumbai’s draft plan maps
Clara Lewis | TNN | Apr 8, 2015, 03.44 AM IST
MUMBAI: Citizen activists have protested the absence of tree data along with the draft Development Plan 2034.
Activist Sumaira Abdulali said finalizing the plan without disclosing the trees on the proposed development area was directly contrary to the intent and procedure prescribed under section 19(a) of the Tree Act. "The Act mandates that the Tree Authority must first satisfy itself that it is necessary and feasible to fell trees at a proposed site, and only thereafter is the municipal corporation entitled to sanction building plans,'' said Abdulali.
Pankaj Joshi, architect and executive director, Urban Design Research Institute, said while trees cannot be shown on DP maps, BMC should have provided the tree census data with the DP document. "It is inexcusable that the data has not been provided,'' he said.
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Tree Authority member Niranjan Shetty said the census carried out about seven years ago showed approximately 20 lakh trees in the city. It does not include the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Aarey Colony. Shetty said the requirement was of five trees per person, but the data showed that the trees were inadequate.
"The Tree Authority had sanctioned a fresh census almost a year ago and the new data should have been available by now. The data should have been provided given the problems due to climate change,'' he said.
Architect and activist P K Das said urban city forests, like those on the Malabar Hill slopes and forests along the Irla nullah are not shown on the DP maps. "While trees along roads are not shown on the map, the slopes have been shown as recreation grounds, implying there are no trees here. Along the nullah, the map shows part of the urban forest as a road,'' he said. He said the BMC, as part of its forest project, had planted thousands of trees along the nullah.