Civic body sows seeds to keep tabs on city’s green

PMC to geo-tag every tree in four zones at public, private premises to curb rampant felling
In an attempt to curb rampant tree felling in the city, Pune Munici pal Corporation (PMC) has taken guardianship of the trees in the city. Recently completing a census in Shivajinagar, the authorities calculated 2.5 lakh trees in the area.Now, the civic body will be putting together a database with all the acquired information of every tree to make monitoring them easier. Subsequently, the administration will take stringent action against those indulging in tree felling without the permission from the garden department.At present, PMC will keep a tab on the green cover through citizens, who can register complaints, following which a spot check will be done and a Panchnama will be made. The civic body is also in the process of acquiring detailed information of all trees under its jurisdiction, making a record of the type, local and botanical name, age, girth, canopy, condition (dead, healthy, poor), ownership (private or private), among other relevant data. This will ensure that the authorities can easily identify the location of tree felling after they are alerted by locals. Ashok Ghorpade, chief superin tendent of PMC’s garden department shared the details of the initiative, “After receiving orders from the Bombay High Court (HC), we began a tree census in the city. We have given the contract for the survey to SAAR agency and have provided a two-year deadline. They have already started the work at four zones.“

Yogesh Kute, geo manager, SAAR agency, who is working on the survey said, “We have been surveying the city’s trees for the past five months.We are working in four different zones, out of which we have completed collecting data on 2.5 lakh trees in the Shivajinagar area. Now, we will be moving on to Aundh. Around 60 people, who have completed their bachelors or masters in botany, are involved in the effort.“

Currently, the agency has been surveying trees in Yerwada, Hingane, Hadapsar and Aundh. “We require five minutes to upload the information to the database. However, there needs to be awareness among people about the survey; so, we have to share information about it. It will also help in early completion of the survey if PMC advertises about it,“ Kute further said. In 2007 to 2011, the civic body had conducted a manual survey with different agencies, based on which the administration claimed that there are around 38 lakh trees in the city. Now, PMC has to include the Yewalewadi villages as it has been merged in the corporation’s jurisdiction.

In 2013, PMC had conducted a pilot project using geographic information system (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS) within limited areas such as Agharkar Research Institute, Ayurvedic Rasashala on Karve Road and Sambhaji Park.

On September 20, 2013, while issuing an order on the plea of city-based petitioner Deepak Balkrishna Vahikar, Bombay HC said, “PMC shall take necessary steps to effectuate this directive to ensure that the tree census is completed, adopting modern technology in a digitised framework with geo-tagging. A census of the existing trees has to be conducted within the administration’s jurisdiction once before December 1996 and thereafter once in every five years.“

Source : Mirror