Mumbai: The BMC will continue with the old contractors for tree trimming/cutting as the tree authority – the body which sanctions proposals for appointment of new contractors – is yet to be constituted.
Formation of the new tree authority was not allowed by the Bombay high court last week as the petitioner raised the objection that only four tree experts had been selected by the BMC. Thus, old contractors that lack experts for scientific tree trimming/cutting will continue the pre-monsoon work.
However, following severe criticism over haphazard cutting of trees and consequent tree collapse instances causing casualties, the BMC’s garden department has made it mandatory for contractors to have a horticulturist on board for every ward. The new contract for tree trimming/axing includes 23 contractors (C and D ward have been clubbed together), with every contractor having a tree expert on board. The contract is worth `140 crores for the next three years.
Activist Zoru Bathena said, “If the old contractors continue, they will make a business out of it by cutting more wood. If a healthy tree is cut unscientifically, the effects are seen after a few years and not immediately.”
A senior officer from the garden department said, “If the court orders for five, we may include the fifth expert who was de-selected during scrutiny. A call will be taken after discussion with our counsels. Till then, we will continue with the pre-monsoon tree trimming.”