Trees ‘chopped’ to hoard view of Railway Cops Colony | News from Mumbai

Mumbai: Tree cutting at Railway Police Colony, Ghatkopar has raised the hairs on the backs of locals and activists alike. A number of mature trees here have been felled to their bare trunks to make way for buildings to generate income for the police. Most trees that had a rich canopy will likely not survive.
Railroad Police Department sources said the “pruning” of the trees was done by a city contractor after proper approval was given by the city body.
“We had decided to set aside part of the colony for the erection of commercial billboards to raise income for the Police Social Fund. Approval was obtained in advance from the DGP office,” said a senior railway police officer.
The green light was given for the erection of three billboards, for which an outside media agency was contracted, the official said, adding, “The branches of some trees should be trimmed so as not to obstruct the billboards.” He said the police department may ask BMC to question the contractor about the loss of tree cover.
Green activist Zoru Bhathena called it “tree chopping” rather than “trimming.” “This is blatant tree chopping. More than 25% of leaf cover should never be removed for trimming,” he said.
When TOI contacted Sharad Bagul, N/Ward’s arborist, he said BMC had given permission for pruning after a letter from the police. Bagul asked for a copy of the letter that BMC issued but did not share. Bhathena said the good thing is that the trees are stronger than the authorities. “They will survive and be rich green within months.”

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