Builders irritated after BMC refuses to grant NOCs for felling trees | Mumbai News

MUMBAI: The builders’ lobby in Mumbai is upset and upset with the new municipal commissioner, Bhushan Gagrani. Reason: Their redevelopment projects have come to a standstill for the past two months as the commissioner has refused to grant them permission and NOCs for felling trees.

Mumbai, India – March 20, 2024: IQ Chahal hands over the charge sheet to newly appointed Municipal Commissioner Bhushan Gagrani at the BMC office in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)

Considering the rampant redevelopment activities going on in the city and the consequent large-scale felling of trees, the commissioner has reportedly referred some 164 files back to the Chief Inspector of Gardens for a “thorough re-check and assessment” of all tree restoration applications. to cut. Permissions to place public advertisements in which citizens also raise objections and suggestions have been refused until further notice, according to sources.

Play your favorite game on Crickit now. Always and everywhere. Find out how

Deputy Municipal Commissioner K Gandhi admitted that files were referred back as the commissioner wanted to save as many trees as possible. “Now that Mumbai is in full redevelopment mode, he wants to protect nature and green cover,” he said. “Cutting down trees on the edge of a plot must stop. Only trees that absolutely need to be felled as part of a project, for example a tree that gets in the way of plinth, driveway or foundation activity, must be given permission.”

Sources indicate that Gagrani believes that the current process of transplanting new saplings in place of the old ones does not work because the saplings do not survive. He therefore wants builders to transplant new saplings based on the age of the tree being felled. “If a 50-year-old tree has to be cut down, he wants the developer to plant 50 new saplings, but in a good scientific way so that they survive,” they explained.

Developers, on the other hand, are concerned that their project timelines will be thrown into disarray. “I have already evicted the residents of my current project, I am paying them transition rent, but I cannot continue construction until I have received the NOC for felling trees. I am in limbo and my meter is broken,” said a builder on condition of anonymity.

Another developer tried to find an alternative way around a large tree that was in the way of his project. “Luckily I was able to do that and my work was not hindered as such,” he said.

Dr. Adv Harshul Savla, managing partner of M Realty, pointed out that the policies of the BMC and the Tree Authority had changed from time to time, due to which there was a backlog of proposals pending with the department. “So the NOCs take months,” he said. “The whole process is so cumbersome. It affects our timelines and our projects are put on hold.”

The move has especially affected newly launched redevelopment projects, said Prashant Sharma, chairman of the Maharashtra chapter of the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), a body of real estate industry stakeholders. He admitted that builders were angry, but “we hope the commissioner will resolve this problem soon.”

Meanwhile, CREDAI-MCHI, an association of 1,800 developers in Mumbai, has also submitted a representation to the commissioner, seeking an early resolution of the issue.

Environmentalists and activists from the city, on the other hand, have welcomed the move, saying it is long overdue. “The way redevelopment activities are increasing in Mumbai and blanket permissions are being granted to builders, there is a need to keep a check on rampant logging. Development cannot come at the cost of biodiversity,” said Kishore Rithe, director of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).

Dr. Arun Sawant, president of the National Society of Friends of Trees, asserted that there should be proper assessment of the trees being felled even if the development was allowed to take place. “The felling should be done as per the provisions of the Tree Act and should be based on merit,” he said. “Before a tree can be felled, authorities must ensure that a tree has been transplanted into place.”

According to environmentalist Debi Goenka, a tree census of the number of trees cut and transplanted is conducted every three years, but the BMC does not make the data public. “I asked for a copy, but my request was blocked,” he said.

Get ready for the World Cup with Crickit! From live scores to match stats, watch all the action here. Discover now!

Stay updated with all the latest news and breaking news from Mumbai. Click here for comprehensive coverage of top cities including Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and more across India, along with Stay updated with the latest happenings in World News.