Bombay High Court Orders Pune Municipal Corporation to Replant 71 Trees

Bombay High Court

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Pune, 17th April 2024: On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court instructed Pune Municipal Corporation to replant 71 trees on Ganeshkhind Road, following the advice of an expert committee previously established by the court.

Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Arif S Doctor were presiding over a case brought forth by NGO Parisar Sanrakshan Sanwardhan Sanstha and two Pune-based activists. The petitioners were concerned about the potential tree felling associated with widening the section of Ganeshkhind Road from Sancheti Hospital to Pune University junction from 36 to 45 meters to accommodate the Metro rail (Line 3) project.

Last December, a high court-appointed committee of experts was tasked with evaluating options to save as many trees as possible along this stretch of road. Their findings were due by February 28, but the deadline was later extended to March 10.

The court expected the committee’s report, delivered through municipal counsel, before its next hearing. In light of traffic issues in the area, the petitioners anticipated the expert recommendations, hoping to avoid excessive tree felling.

A senior official from Pune Municipal Corporation’s road department remarked, “We recently received the expert committee’s report and are now formulating our response. We welcome the recommendation for tree replantation and will comply fully. Our actions will be guided by the court’s decision.”

The expert committee included specialists in road construction from CSIR-Central Road Research Institute in Delhi (appointed by its director), an expert from IIT Bombay’s environmental engineering department or their nominee, a representative from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, a specialist in town planning and urban studies from IIT Bombay, and additional municipal commissioners from PMC and PMRDA.

Key points about the road widening plan:

– 192 mature trees were proposed to be cut for road widening as part of the PMRDA, Metro, and flyover projects.
– Some trees have already been felled.
– Plans include relocating 87 native tree species.
– PMRDA states it has relocated 11 trees.
– The stretch of road from SPPU Gate to Sancheti Hospital is being expanded from 36 to 45 meters.