Pune, 31st January 2024: Outrage has swept through the citizens of Aundh-Baner, Kothrud, and Koregaon Park as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) unveils its intention to fell over 300 trees for road widening and other development projects.
Residents of Aundh-Baner expressed dismay, revealing that around 80 trees are slated for removal from Someshwarwadi Chowk to Mauli Petroleum Pump to Ganaraj Chowk.
Activists have raised objections, particularly regarding the proposed felling of 41 trees from Sadanand Hotel to Periwinkle Society in the Aundh-Baner ward. The Tree Act mandates PMC to submit a roadmap indicating affected, unaffected, and transplant-bound trees, along with space for new tree plantations. PMC’s application lacked a crucial road map, as required by the Act.
Economist Ameet Singh criticized the continuous effort by the road department to reduce Pune’s tree cover on arterial roads. He cited examples such as Ganeshkhind Road, where over 93 trees were felled for construction equipment turning radius. Singh questioned the need to widen roads, as in the Sadanand Hotel stretch, from 86 meters to over 98 meters, when traffic issues persist even on the existing width.
A senior PMC official responded, stating that objections from citizens regarding tree cutting in Aundh-Baner have been forwarded to the road department. Permission for tree cutting won’t be granted until the road department addresses the raised conditions. If met, nearly 50% of the trees on each stretch could be spared.