1,000 signatures reached
To: Thane Municipal Commissioner, Mr. Sanjeev Jaiswal
STOP 3500 Trees Being Chopped Off For Goa Highway Expansion!
Reconsider the approval to cut 3500 trees
Why is this important?
Following the first meeting of the Tree Authority (TA) of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) headed by the Municipal Commissioner post elections, over 3,500 trees have been marked for being chopped off. All this for the expansion of the Goa Highway from a 4-lane highway to a 6-lane highway.
Moreover, a number of the trees are over 200-years old and most of these are fruit-bearing trees. And includes a 300-year-old Banyan tree in Thane. The six-seven fruit mango trees in Colvale, for instance, that will also bear the brunt of this expansion forms a critical landmark for the village.
What is really unfortunate is that only earlier this year, a few days after Jhatkaa.org launched the campaign to save the mango trees, transport minister Ramkrishna Dhavalikar spoke up for the preservation of these trees: "Some of these trees predate our grandparents. We will not permit anyone to touch those trees, neither engineers nor contractors nor consultants." And now the same trees are likely to come under the axe, along with over 3500+ others! All this when a diversion can easily be considered.
The Tree Authority of TMC was formed earlier again this year after the Bombay High Court's directions of constituting the authority as per the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975. Concerns by locals and experts have fallen on deaf ears.
What is concerning is that all the proposals have been made by private parties such as Piramal estates, Lodha group, Pradeep Kamble etc. and it appears that none of these have been rejected. And neither are any alternatives being proposed to prevent the trees from being chopped off.
While development is necessary, if it is at the cost of the very environment on which we depend, this so-called development is of no good to anyone. Trees are ecosystems in themselves, and can’t be replaced by merely replanting them.
The Government and the Tree Authority need to reconsider their approval and must think long-term for the environment and the people before all else.