Pune: Illegal Tree Felling For Construction Prompts Swift Action From Environment Activists

Pune: Illegal Tree Felling For Construction Prompts Swift Action From Environment Activists

Pune: Illegal Tree Felling For Construction Prompts Swift Action From Environment Activists

Share This News
The Public Works Department allegedly fell quite a lot of trees for construction work without obtaining necessary permission on Airport Road.

31 May 2024

By Khushi Maheshwari

An environmentalist group, Pune Samvad and some local residents lodged an FIR with the Yerwada police over an unauthorised construction work by the PWD that had led to the uprooting of several trees, with more expected to follow on 27th May.

The FIR was lodged following a hearing with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Public Works Department’s (PWD) Tree Department. Pune Samvad was objecting to a request from the PWD to cut down 74 trees on PWD land near Airport Road. After the hearing, the PWD representative accompanied the citizens to the site, where they found out that construction had commenced without formal permission from the PMC. Hence an FIR was lodged over the illegal felling.

Environmental activist and economist Ameet Singh highlighted some significant details in the issue, 

“1. The tender was issued in January 2023. 

2. ⁠It was finalised & the work order issued to the contractor on 11/04/2023. 

3. ⁠One of the primary requirements in the financial BOQ was felling of trees over 30 to 60 cm in girth. 

4. ⁠No tree hearing or consideration was evaluated before / after the tender document was prepared. No alternative plan considered. 

5. ⁠Yet again, trees were being looked at as a fait accompli while finalising the work order and it was premeditated that the trees need to be felled. Will be felled and budgets were drawn up accordingly in the financial BOQ, for the same. 74 trees would simply be sacrificed. No other go…” 

Delving into the background of the issue, Rekha Joshi, another environmentalist, stated, “We were called for a hearing in Nagar Road area ward office, Bankar is in charge of the office. We had asked for the design plans but the PWD representative who had come did not have all that, so as per the discussions and talks with Bankar, it was decided to go and visit the place. After entering the place we discovered that in much of the area excavation had already taken place.”

The Vadgaon Sheri Tree Authority Department revealed that the plan’s present development area is anticipated to be 18,000 square metres. Of the 94 trees in the vicinity, 72 were to be taken down, according to the PWD’s first request.