Protests against axing of old neem trees gain force

Activists from across the state to take turns in guarding trees on Aundh Road till PMC assures their safety
The Jagte Raho Andolan protest to save trees along the Raj Bhavan side of Aundh Road -is now gaining momentum, as the green activists have decided to make a state-wide appeal to save the trees.Now, activists from all parts of the city and other neighbouring districts have planned to participate in the movement. These groups will spend entire nights, and take turns to save the trees on the route. Their agenda is to continue with the protest till a written assurance from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is not issued, stating that the trees would not be hacked.

Vinod Jain, an activist, said, “Each group will take the responsibility to save the trees from being hacked every night. We have decided to continue the protest as after our night patrolling, the PMC attempted to hack trees the subsequent morning. Now, during the day, residents of Kasturba Vasahat will be keeping vigilance.And, at night, we will take charge of the situation.“

These activists have started their late-night demonstration from Friday, April 7, as many old neem trees are being hacked by the PMC. Several nature lovers and environmental organisations have extended their support to the cause, including Vruksham, Ban er-Balewadi Residents’ Association, Aundh Citizen Group, Nigdi Dehu Road Nature Group, Green Pune, Vasundhara Swachhata Abhiyan, Nagari Chetana Manch, and so on.

Sangram Jagdale, another nature lover, shared, “Everybody will spend few hours to save the trees, so that the responsibility is equally shared.“

Activists from Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Navi Mumbai, Nashik, Kolhapur and Satara have expressed their willingness to join the protest and are expected to join the movement from Monday.

Swapna Narayan, member of the Baner-Balewadi Residents’ Association, said, “We will continue with our agitation till the authorities withdraw the decision of tree cutting. We have gone through the legal norms, and no law allows tree cutting during night hours. The PMC officers must be punished for this.“

Source : TOI