Even as the Mumbai Metropolitan Rail Corporation Limited has begun chopping down trees as it paves way for Metro 3, little thought has been spared for the inhabitants of those trees — the birds. With the onset of monsoon imminent in the coming days, the birds have been rendered homeless with their nests becoming collateral damage in the unbridled rush to construct, especially in South Mumbai. Now, to protest the rampant tree cutting, a group of citizens came together on Sunday near Churchgate station with plans to take it all those locations where tree cutting is on the schedule.
Hunt for new homes
Tunali Mukherjee, a resident of south Mumbai and a media professional said while earlier, two to three crows came to her balcony daily, the number has recently gone up.
“It is devastating to see trees being hacked like this. I have seen a family of 16 parrots disappear in a day’s time after the trees in front of my balcony were cut. I usually keep food for crows in my balcony, and now the number of crows sitting there has multiplied,” adding, “The birds even tried to move to the trees opposite our building, but after a few days, those were cut down too.” Citizens have pointed that in certain cases, even the nests built by them for the safety of the birds during rains were hacked down. They also alleged violations during cutting of trees, as the tree officer was not present at the site to follow the safety measures, leading to a tree falling on the gate of Moti Mahal building at Churchgate and partially destroying its entry gate.
However, while the MMRC spokesperson evaded the query on what is being done to rehabilitate the birds, he insisted that, “Tree cutting is an essential and legally permitted activity and is being conducted with care, but in case there is any damage caused to a building gate, we will look into it.”
Be more vigilant
On Sunday, the group of about 30-odd citizens also discussed the future course of action with some suggesting that as the SC permits them to go ahead with tree cutting, citizens can instead look at asking the government to consider transplantation of trees. Others believed that citizens must be more vigil and in cases where there is no tree officer, the tree cutting work should be called off. Zoru Bhathena, a citizen’s activist against tree cutting, said, “We should look at various options to stop these huge trees from being chopped. We are not against the Metro project, but not at the cost of the trees.”