Mumbai: To build MTHL, 454 trees to face the axe

Mumbai’s dwindling green cover is set to suffer another blow. At least 454 trees will be chopped—and 550 others will be transplanted—to make way for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link that will connect Sewri with Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai via a 22-km, six-lane bridge over the sea.

The BMC’s Tree Authority gave permission to the MMRDA on Wednesday to cut the trees. The MMRDA had approached the Tree Authority for this in June 2018. The paperwork for it was completed two months ago.

The initial proposal was to axe 1,172 trees, but the number was later dropped to 1,004. MMRDA officials said they will plant 2,000 trees in three villages of Vasai in lieu of the 1,004. Sources said the 454 trees that will be cut include species like peepal, Ashoka, gulmohar, cherry and tamarind.

The sources said the cutting of trees is likely to begin early next year.

Transplantation procedures aren’t always successful. Physical damage, downsizing and a new environment can cause ‘stress’ in trees and saplings and can reduce their growth considerably. So, it’s too early to say how the 550 trees that will be transplanted would fare.

Environmentalist D Stalin accused state agencies of launching concerted efforts to “butcher” trees.

The MTHL’s construction is expected to be completed by September 2022.

Recently, the MMRDA awarded a contract to build an elevated corridor over railway lines and a few bridges for Rs.1,276 crore, which will connect with the MTHL at Sewri on the east and the coastal road in Worli.

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