The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started felling and transplanting trees at Tata Garden in Breach Candy to make way for its coastal road project. A team arrived on Friday morning and started removing trees, according to Breach Candy residents.
The BMC is constructing a 10.58-km portion of the coastal road from Princess Street Flyover in Marine Drive to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea link. The Rs 12,751-crore project will pass through Priyadarshini Park, Tata Garden and Haji Ali. At least 600 trees will be cut and transplanted during the construction of the coastal road.
Breach Candy resident Dr Nilesh Baxi, who is also a petitioner against the project, said, “They (BMC) have started cutting the trees. They removed eight trees from the garden. From Tata Garden, at least 61 trees will be affected by the project. The garden was closed to the public on April 1.”
The BMC will connect the coastal road with the existing internal road through Tata Garden. Between Bhulabhai Desai Road and Tata Garden, 61 trees have been proposed to be cut and 79 transplanted. Last year, the Tree Authority had given its nod to cut and transplant tress coming in the way of the coastal road.
According to activist Zoru Bhathena, the BMC had said it would transplant these trees in proposed open spaces that will come on reclaimed land. “Authorities have said the coastal road will provide new open spaces for Mumbai. Then why is the civic body not transplanting these trees in the upcoming gardens? They have already reclaimed so much area,” Bhathena said.
He added, “Also, the BMC is cutting trees since they are creating an exit from the coastal road to the existing road network. But when there is already an existing road, why the need to go inside Tata Garden?”
But V S Nighote, Chief Engineer of the coastal road, said, “The portion of the garden and its adjacent part will be needed for the proposed interchange arm of the coastal road. A few months ago, we had got approval from the Tree Authority to cut and transplant trees for the project.”