Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally started looking for independent experts for its tree authority (TA), after prolonged resistance from city environmentalists over the TA’s functioning.
In a public notice issued in Mumbai on February 15, the civic body has asked eligible candidates to submit applications for the positions of nominated members in the TA. At present, the BMC needs to appoint the same number of tree experts as corporators in the TA.
According to the Maha-rashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act (1975), eligible members must have an educational qualification in agriculture, botany or environmental science or they should be active members of a non-government organisation enlisted with the social forestry department of the Maharashtra government. Also, a minimum of 10 years’ experience in tree plantation, protection and preservation is required. The last date for submission of applications is February 6.
“It is good that the BMC is finally appointing tree experts in the TA. However, after the legal constitution of the authority, it has to again put up notice about public hearing for suggestions and objects of the proposals for cutting trees for different projects,” said Zoru Bhathena, a Mumbai based tree-activist who challenged in the Bombay high court the validity of BMC’s TA which was constituted without experts.
In October 2018, a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M.S. Sonak upheld the orders passed in the case of the Pune municipal corporation and Thane municipal corporation TA, which mandated appointment of seven official civic members along with seven independent experts, thereby declaring the BMC’s TA illegal.