Matunga East residents up in arms over BMC’s proposal to cut 30 trees for road widening | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Matunga East residents up in arms over BMC’s proposal to cut 30 trees for road widening

Jan 31, 2023 12:59 AM IST

Mumbai: The residents of Matunga East are up in arms over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) proposal to fell 30 trees for road widening of M Madhavan Marg and Bhartiben Rameshchandra Shah Marg, just outside the Indian Gymkhana playground, which many describe as one of the last remaining green spaces in the island city

Mumbai: The residents of Matunga East are up in arms over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) proposal to fell 30 trees for road widening of M Madhavan Marg and Bhartiben Rameshchandra Shah Marg, just outside the Indian Gymkhana playground, which many describe as one of the last remaining green spaces in the island city.

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On Sunday, February 5, residents plan to gather for a peaceful protest march in the area, wherein they will also tie rakhis to the earmarked trees as a token of their objection. The affected trees include large, old-growth trees, including a century-old peepal.

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The BMC had placed public notices informing about the removal of the trees between January 24 and 29, and there are a total of 90 trees in the area which residents say are at risk from the road widening, for which the BMC has not provided adequate justification. Grishma Lad, a local resident and advocate, had last year filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court seeking protection for the affected trees.

“In September last year, the BMC’s gardens department numbered 90 trees in the area for road widening. Through RTI requests, we learnt that the BMC is planning to widen the road from about 8 metres to 13 metres. They did not give any reason for this except that the city’s 1977 development plan proposes the future widening of the road to 13 metres. But in 46 years no resident has put forward this demand. Now, public notices for felling 30 of these trees have been issued,” said Lad.

The area in question is a calm, residential neighbourhood with minimum traffic volume, which residents say makes such road widening unwarranted and unnecessary. “The road has already been widened once, and fights are happening because no one follows the law and parks on both sides of the road. More vehicles will create more chaos,” said Swati Pandit, another resident.

Jitendra Pardeshi, superintendent of gardens, BMC, did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

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