NAGPUR: With 365 trees already cut, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has given permission to a private company to chop down another 193 trees at Empress Vann. The Tree Authority Committee gave consent to this proposal on the last day of the five-year tenure of corporators on March 4.
The civic body’s permission has come to fore now as the private company — Royal Sandesh Business Park LLP — deposited a few days ago the security deposit of Rs41.01 lakh, of which Rs37.29 lakh is security deposit and Rs3.72 lakh is administrative fees. For last couple of days, NMC’s garden department has started to search for open space where the private company will plant 3,729 compensatory trees.
On July 11, 2011, TOI had reported that NMC chopped down over 365 trees for construction of road connecting Marwadi Chawl to Rajwada Palace, though it was not required and a parallel wide road was already available in front of Empress Mall and Gandhisagar Lake. It was also reported that remaining trees situated on plots auctioned by Maharashtra State Textile Corporation (MSTC) will also go in coming days.
In the industrial layout of MSTC, Royal Sandesh Business Park LLP had purchased plot no. 1 spread measuring 1,53,000 sq ft from MSTC in 2019. One of the directors Ramdeo ‘Rammu’ Agrawal submitted an application with NMC seeking to cut down trees on his plot on September 24, 2021.
The Tree Authority Committee headed by the civic chief gave its permission on March 4. Of total 193 trees, 182 are subabul, 4 chinchbhilai, 2 kadu neem, 1 maharuk, 3 karanji and 1 jangli karanji. NMC tree officer and garden superintendent Amol Chorpagar did not respond to TOI’s call and message.
Agrawal told TOI, “It is an industrial area since many decades. Majority of trees are subabul. MSTC auctioned the plot for development of textile sector and empowerment of farmers. We have planned a state-of-the-art garment complex along with wholesale market for saris and other types of cloths. It will also ease congestion in Itwari and Mahal, which are crowded localities. Itwari and Mahal will become retail markets if wholesale traders shift to this area.”
Agrawal added they are planning to plant more trees than demanded by NMC. “We have been asked to plant trees of six feet height, but we plan to go for more height. All species suggested by NMC will be planted. We will also take care of survival of these plants for seven years,” he said.
For last few decades, Empress Vann comprising large number trees was untouched. Former mayor Dayashankar Tiwari planned the road cutting the green space into two parts followed by auction of three plots by MSTC.
Tiwari said, “There is no impact on environment if subabul trees are cut. Actually, no permission is required to cut down subabul trees as per norms of urban local body and also forest. Still, private company ensured permission from the authority and is also planning to plant compensatory trees. The road being developed will ease congestion and also benefit a large number of people. Vande Mataram garden is also under construction to mark 75th independence year of the country. Once lying abandoned, the area is going to benefit the people as well as city to a great extent.”
Activist Kunal Mourya said NMC and other government agencies are destroying greenery of the city despite their responsibility to ensure conservation of environment. “Each and every tree plays a own role in the environment so one should not chop them down but plant more. I have serious doubts about trees counted by NMC. Also, there is no check over illegal felling of trees,” he said.
Apart from these 558 trees, there are many more trees on the remaining vacant plots in Empress Vann. Those trees will also go whenever purchasers begin construction.