Citizens oppose cutting of trees on Ganeshkhind road; Khairewadi houses to face demolition

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By: Pune Pulse

September 27, 2023

Pune: The second phase of the widening of Ganeshkhind Road is currently underway, with plans to demolish a few houses and cut some trees in order to accommodate the expansion. This has sparked a protest among the residents of the area. However, a civic official has assured that the trees will be transplanted and the affected residents will be relocated to another area.

While talking to Pune Pulse, Pooja Tanna, a resident of Bhosale Nagar, expressed her concerns as a cyclist and pedestrian and the importance of having a dedicated cycle track and footpath for transportation. Further, she added, ”The trees along the road provided a natural cooling effect for cyclists and pedestrians, particularly for women who walk to work from nearby areas. I criticize the sudden cutting of these trees without considering the objections raised by the public.” She demanded transparency and requested to see the road design before any further illegal tree cutting take place.

Ranjit Gadgil, member of Parisar and the PMC Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) Committee, expressed his anger towards the PMC’s decision. He added, ”The lack of proper hearing regarding the tree cutting, as required by the Tree Act, despite submitting written objections to the Tree Authority is hard to digest. He also mentioned the demand for a road design that minimizes or avoids tree-cutting, which has not been addressed. He accused the PMC of violating the Pedestrian Policy and Urban Street Design Guidelines adopted in 2017.”

Gangotri Chanda, an activist added, ”In accordance with the Tree Act, authorization is granted for the removal of obstructing trees for the purpose of development, on the condition that specific species such as peepal and ficus are transplanted and new saplings are planted. However, proper binding of the roots during transplantation is necessary, although the roots are often extensively spread underground, making it necessary to cut them. Furthermore, most transplanted trees cannot adapt to their new environment and, therefore, cannot survive. Additionally, newly planted saplings cannot replace fully grown trees and their associated flora and fauna. In this particular case, if trees are to be cut and compensated for by sapling plantations and 87 trees are to be transplanted, it is our understanding that the entire ecology of the 192 trees is being destroyed. Furthermore, we question the need for road widening when a smooth public transport system could be implemented. With only 1650 buses available when 5150 are needed, and with buses frequently breaking down, people are forced to use private vehicles, and road widening becomes an excuse for destroying the ecology.”

While talking to Pune Pulse, Ravindra Khandare, Tree Officer, PMC added, ”Trees will be transplanted alongside the road in order to create additional space for widening. Furthermore, those houses that are being demolished will be provided with alternative locations of their preference.”

 Madhupriya Dhanwate

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