Pune: PMC Plans To Install 3 Artificial Trees At Cost Of Rs 88 Lakhs, Area Sabha Association Opposes Move

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Friyana Munshi

Kothrud, 25 March 2021: The Area Sabha Association of Pune (ASAP) has registered an objection to the Pune Municipal Corporation’s proposed plan of installing three artificial trees at a cost of Rs 88 lakh at the Balasaheb Thackeray Garden, Dahanukar Colony, Kothrud.

The letter of objection was signed and sent by Swapna Narayan, Vaishali Patkar, Hema Chari, Sathya Natarajan, Ravindra Sinha, Akhilesh Bhandari, Anupam Saraf, Lalit Kathpalia, and Makarand Shende on behalf of ASAP.

The letter of objection was sent to Aaditya Uddhav Thackeray, Minister for Environment, Government of Maharashtra, Mantralaya, Mumbai, Manisha Patankar Mhaiskar, Secretary – Environment Ministry, Govt of Maharashtra Mantralaya, Mumbai, and Vikram Kumar, Chairman – Tree Authority, Municipal Commissioner, Pune.

The letter stated “There’s no doubt that innovation is necessary to bring about positive change, but, just because something is innovative, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, especially in this case. These artificial trees not only do not have any environmental benefits, but they also do not count as a green measure, and hence the fact that it’s designed in the form of a tree to ‘speak about conservation’ is a joke and making a fool of the public, not to mention a total waste of public money. It might as well be designed in the form of a rocket or any other object ‘speaking’ about conservation, and it still would not bring any benefits to the environment, nor the public, because it’s a completely illogical idea. Spending public money on this bizarre project when PMC has been giving permissions to uproot and cut down trees in the name of road widening, new constructions, development projects, smart city initiatives, etc is a complete violation of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act (1975).“

It further states “The MH Tree Act Rules (2009), Schedule I, clearly favours plantation of native trees, but even in the name of trimming branches, native trees are being hacked in large numbers with the permission of the Tree Authority, PMC.“

The letter provides ways to help save trees and the environment in the following ways:

1. Keeping the tree census count on the PMC website updated and open to public

2. Taking all measures (by following the Tree Act) to protect our green spaces rather than giving permissions to remove them entirely

3. Penalising those who are violating the Tree Act and illegally cutting down trees.