No more tree felling at University chowk, civic official assures activists

The civic administration has assured activists that it will not fell any more trees at the Savitribai Phule Pune Unversity chowk.

The move follows agitation by greens who raised concerns over indiscriminate felling of trees in the city for various works. On Tuesday , the activists had resorted to an agitation against cutting of an old banyan tree near the chowk.

“No tree will be cut at the Savitribai Phule Pune Unversity chowk hereafter,“ Dayanand Ghadge, tree officer of the civic administration, assured the activists on Wednesday .

The activists have claimed that no proper procedures were being followed by the civic administration to get sanctions for tree felling. On Wednesday , the activists met Ghadge to discuss the issue where they cited a high court ruling.

As per the HC ruling, they said, corporation in process of road wideningstrengthening or any other development activities, shall not cutremove any tree of the species of Ficus (is banyan, peepal, Nandurk) on any of the roads to be constructedwidendeveloped.

After the discussions with the activists, Ghadge shot a letter to the road department of PMC directing it to suspend the ongoing cutting of trees. “The permission was granted to chop branches of the banyan tree.However, any further cutting of the tree would remain suspended,“ Ghadge said.

He said permissions will not be granted to cut trees like banyan, peepal and Nandruk in the city.

Before approaching Ghadge, the activists had also held discussions with Rajendra Raut, head of the road department of PMC. They explained to him that there was no reason to cut trees on UniversityAundh stretch, especially the 200-year old banyan tree at the University chowk. The activists also sought details of permissions granted by the road department to cut the tree.

Raut said the permission for tree felling was granted by the tree authority and his department just initiated the steps within the given framework.

Vaishali Patkar, member of Area Sabha Association of Pune, said the civic administration should not cut the 200-year old banyan tree at University chowk. “Citizens do not want unplanned development. PMC should put efforts to protect city’s green cover,“ she said.

Activist Madhvi Rahirkar said the administration has not conducted any hearing before initiating steps to chop trees.The activists also submitted a letter to the tree authority seeking details of permissions sought by the authority to cut trees at University chowk.

Source : TOI