Meeting on Gardens and Trees held on 10th Jan. 2006 at 3:30
pm at the Karmayog Office and at 5:00 pm at MCGM Seminar Room,
(Second part i.e. at BMC office)
Thos present: Mr.Naringrekar, Superintendent of Gardens
Mr.Vani, Deputy Supt. of Gardens, Western Suburbs – Andheri
Rishi Aggarwaal, MESN
Rajendra Agarwal, Green Guard and Rotarian
Bombay Rose Society
S. Kothawala, Jhunjhunwala Foundation
R. P. Ruia, Rotarian
Mark Sheehey- Horticulturist, Clean
Air Island , EU Asia
Supriya Desai, Horticulturist, Clean
Alondekar & Ramesh Kadam from Aakar, Ragpickers NGO
Inamdar, Karmayog / NGO Council
Mahajan, volunteer Karmayog
We have listed out issues regarding gardens and trees – today
we will discuss these issues, and from these, which ones we can
work collaboratively with MCGM and, MCGM could tell us their limitations
Even if we have complaints,
we must come with suggestions of what can be done together.
Rajendra: Mumbai has only
0.02% green cover as compared to the globally accepted norm for
cities of 10-15%. We need to have a Policy to include greening our
Supriya: We have a composting
and greening project on
DN Rd from Crawford Market to Fountain.
Mr.Kothawala: I represent
the Jhunjhunwala Foundation, we have got a plot from CIDCO that
we are developing. We run several schools and colleges.
Rishi: I represent MESN –
we need radical change in the actual working of the Tree Authority.
It is an issue of governance. The TA has a budget of 20 crores,
but no plan for the next 10-20 years for the city.
V: I had drawn up a larger
agenda, for a larger group to discuss at this meeting. One of the
ideas the NGO Council is trying is how to make citizens feel involved
in issues such as this. If citizens were to identify where trees/shrubs
could be planted and MCGM gives the permissions for these, then
Rotary, ALMs etc. can take on the task of buying saplings, planting,
watering and maintaining. Principally is MCGM agreeable to this?
N: principally we agree. Permission
is given by the TA for adoption – also for planting – and putting
up a board for the sponsor.
V: Is there a policy for this?
What is the procedure?
N: There has not been much
response to this; we could use your help. The procedure is to write
a letter, a site visit is then conducted to ascertain whether any
utilities such as electric pole, cables, etc would be affected,
or road is to be widened – for this the letter is sent to the CE-Roads
for his remarks.
Mark - We submitted a plan
to the BMC for permissions – it’s not too much of a problem to get
V: is there a written policy?
N: We can paper it.
Rajendra: We had applied for
road adoption under the Re.1 adoption scheme – after 1 year we still
haven’t got the permission – its very difficult to follow up – we
need one place, like Karmayog, where we can apply and then follow
N: For the beautification
of the divider, footpath and traffic islands, the CE-Roads is to
be approached, not the Garden Dept. It was formerly with us, but
has been discontinued. The CE-Roads gives the permission, and then
implementation is with the AMC at Ward level, so follow up has to
We are working and thinking
of coming out with a comprehensive policy for beautification of
Rajendra: What about encroachment
of footpaths? We wanted to adopt 3-4 footpaths, I spent a lot of
time at your office, but it was of no use.
I have another example of a personal experience: Sanjay Monga
from Lokhandwala has been trying for 8 months to get permission
to cut 2 dead trees from Medha Gogate, Horticultural Assistant at
K-Ward office, but the permission has yet to come. It seems to be
more difficult to cut dead trees. Personal interaction and bribes
need to be cut out – there is a need for a standard policy.
There is a policy: make an application to the AMC of your
Ward who will send the horticultural assistant to inspect the site
and determine if it’s necessary to cut the tree. This is forwarded
to the Asst.Supt. of Gardens at the Zonal office and for a second
opinion it is shown to a member of the Tree Authority of that area
who may also visit the site. Papers are then sent with the AMC’s
recommendations to the
(who doesn’t inspect the site) – he forwards it to
the MC who is the Chairman of the TA – the permission is then sent
directly to the party with copies to the ward office, etc.
The Friends of Trees is called
if felt necessary, not always.
Rajendra: what is the time
limit for the procedure?
N: 60 days
Rishi: What happens if permission
not granted in 60 days? Is it deemed granted?
Would you like us to recommend a simplification in procedures,
for instance it need not go to the MC?
N: yes, you can go for suggestions
for procedural simplifications. The Tree Act of 1975 does not have
Rules and regulations, and this needs to be taken up on a priority
basis, i.e. the implementation of the Act.
For. eg.: the pruning of trees
– in the absence of Rules, all permission is by the Tree Authority,
not by the Tree Officer. We need Rules with specifications that
will simplify the Tree Act.
We should suggest simplifications.
The Implementation of the Act in the form of Rules and Regulations
needs to be done.
The UD Dept. has deputed the
Dir (Eng), the Supt. (
Eng. ) Planning – who have held
meetings – worked on Draft Rules – this will be sanctioned by the
Legal Dept. then passed by both Houses and then published. Hence
you should have communication with the Chief Secretary, UD Dept.
Rajendra: Do you have a plan
to increase greenery?
1) whatever place is available, we are planting
2) saplings distribution in monsoon
3) there is a provision in the Tree Act, that every Society/plot
(new and old) should have trees planted for greening: 2 trees/100
sq.m and 5 trees for areas greater than 100 sq.m
A lot of new buildings are in violation of this.
N: That is a larger issue
V: Is it possible to involve
Ngo’s to protect.
N: All NGO’s are supposed
to do it. Any person can lodge a complaint with the Police, but
no one does it. They point a finger to the Tree Authority. Police
also says go to the Tree Authority.
Lets take a case – the LBS Marg – we went to the MMRDA –
and Tree Authority – and were kept shuttling between Mr.Naringekar
and Mr.Deshinkar – we got no help from the Tree Authority. At our
public meeting on 7th Nov., we realised that the stipulated
procedure was not followed. There are laws on paper, compliance
V: what is your suggestion?
Rishi: At the start of the
year, list of the permissions granted for tree cutting on the BMC
website and where the Tree Officer is scheduled to visit on which
date. There should be transparency.
The applications for tree cutting have no time limit and
keep coming in. We do put the notices on the trees but they are
torn out. We can’t keep
putting the applications on the website.
Rishi: It’s such a necessary
procedure – no one can object.
V: We are trying to understand
the procedural difficulties they are facing and then suggest changes
in procedure; plus involve civil society so that its is implementable.
We can take your suggestion.
We want to know on the website: who has been given permission
to cut 10,000 trees, etc.
Only MUTP and MUIP are the large scale projects that require
tree cutting. Else the numbers that we deal with are small.
Mark: The positives that come
from this group, we must tie in to that positive energy and find
a way of civic participation.
One year back we appointed Green Guards to help increase
and protect the greenery. We got a very poor response.
You had 2 meetings in 3 years. One with Mr.Velodi and one
with Ms. Godrej.
We need a note on the Green Guards concept: what it is and
why it has failed.
Rishi: I am also a green guard
without a card.
What is the plan for greening Mumbai? Could you suggest that
5% of the Mill lands could be reserved for open space and planting?
Mill lands are addressed at higher levels.
Is there a 1-5 year plan for Mumbai?
N:. There is no plan. But
as per our 1976 survey of tree on roads, there were 33,000 trees.
Today there are 2,00,000. It is now difficult to plant on roads,
no space left – utility lines. Hence only vacant plots are left
and areas such as ND zones, Collector’s land, MbPT (who own 33%
of Mumbai’s land) – you should interact with them.
We need to identify some areas where trees can be planted.
We need to understand each other’s working.
Do you have a mechanism for greening Mumbai in 1-3 years?
My suggestion is that at the Maharashtra Govt. level it should
be decided that for the area of Mumbai, this % should be greened.
Who will make this plan?
The Gardens Dept.
We need to suggest a way for us to correspond.
We could make a Core group of people with experience.
V: The idea is to bring issues
to the table with any suggestions that we may have – understand
why BMC is not doing what we think is obvious and then we make our
suggestions, demands, requirements from BMC.
Mark: What you are saying
is very valid – to understand the limitations/restrictions in their
operations and use the experiences of civic people working together
to achieve long term goals. There must be sharing of information
on both sides, and we should be positive rather than negative.
Mr.Naringekar has given us a lot of information – that itself
is a beginning of the process of opening up. That info is in the
Gardens section in www.karmayog.org
R. P. Ruia:
We would like the BMC to earmark areas that can be adopted
by NGO’s –we have 116 Rotary Clubs, we would like to adopt gardens,
BMC has given us a list of location-wise areas available
for adoption and also the procedure to be followed for adoption.
Sudhir: What about those already
That is not in this list.
We will adopt all in 6 months.
we have 3 Zonal officers in Andheri, Byculla and Mulund who
will assist you if you approach them for adoption of a plot, or
foresting a plot.
What all is to be done in an adopted plot?
Development of the plot as a garden depending on whether
it is a Garden, PG or RG. In Gardens, no construction allowed: only
lawns, hedges, edges, trees, paths, play equipment, flower beds
and a 10’ X 10’ mali ’s chowky.
Rajendra: The adopter has
to bear the cost?
Total responsibility is with the adopter, who can put up
boards as specified.
V: The detailed policy is
available on the website. There is a proposed policy change, so
we can give suggestions. BMC has also introduced changes to prevent
some areas from being cornered by clubs who then restrict access
to the public to those areas.
N: The revised policy is based
on all our experiences as well as the views of NGOs. For adoption
also, no construction is allowed and 80% of the plot must be open
to public and the local people will get a preference in adopting,
so that there is a sense of ownership. This criteria/marking system
for adoption is there in the new policy.
Mr.Ruia: But your adoption
policy is still not receiving a good response.
N: We have ourselves approached
Rotary, BCCI, MCI, etc and got a very poor response.
V: BMC is saying that Rotary
is not coming forward despite their policy. If procedure is the
problem, we can suggest changes.
Rajendra: When we went for
a request, we were given an out of the way plot in Mulund.
We don’t force any plot on to you- we respond to your request
for a specified plot.
V: What are the expenses involved
– both one-time and recurring?
N: That depends on how you
develop the plot.
V: Can we have a workshop
with your officers and interested persons?
N: Sure, we can have a workshop.
We are also thinking of a policy on “colony gardens” for large colonies
like LIC, Air India , etc where 8-10 buildings/societies can
develop the Municipal
their area. The Local residents association takes up the developed
garden for further maintenance and treats it like their garden.
We will work out the recurring expenditure and 75% of this will
be borne by the BMC, and 25% by the LRA. We are working on this
Rajendra: Will water be provided
N: 3 lit/sq.m. is given free.
Water requirements depend on what you plant. Street lights expense
will also be borne by the BMC. For water, we have suggested rain
water harvesting or bore wells.
Mr.Ruia: Why this policy is
not working is that the Corporates who have money are not willing
to adopt themselves, hence NGO’s adopt. But the existing BMC Rules
don’t allow the sponsor to get any publicity – the adopting body,
ie the NGO only can display its board.
Rishi: This is a good practical
Mr.Ruia: The BMC should be
only concerned with the development of the garden and not the value
that the sponsor takes from it.
V: From the point of view
of the NGO Council, we are not entirely in agreement with this,
since it leads to a commercialisation of Mumbai. We need to have
specified norms for public-private partnership.
Rishi: In the suburbs, Raheja
has taken up all the road dividers on
Link Road . If they had waited for an
ALM to be formed, this would not have happened.
N: It is understood that the
local Ngo, citizen group needs to have ownership of any initiative
in that area.
Sudhir: It should be ownership
of society, not of an individual.
V: Saplings, etc should be
given to societies, schools, ALMs, etc not individuals.
N: Green Guards were supposed
to identify areas/societies where trees were to be planted that
BMC would have provided. Green Guards were also supposed to report
tree cutting incidents.
Rishi: the willingness to
plant trees is more important than the cost of the sapling.
Tushar:What is the cost of
a tree guard?
N: Anything between rs.300-900
– BMC doesn’t provide.
Rishi: Unless the Councillor
Mr.Kothawala: Can we ensure
that incidences such as the LBS marg don’t happen again? That without
public participation, such decisions are not taken.
N: This is already happening
through the Courts.
Rishi: Even this morning some
lopping of branches is going on at LBS.
N: The TA is different from
the Planning Authority. We just have to check the competent authority’s
approval. At our level, we cannot check their plans.
Rishi: Its is fundamentally
a planning error.
V: Rishi, can you circulate
your learnings from the LBS Marg incident, so that to prevent further
such incidents, what are the things to do – even by citizens of
that area who can see that road widening will take place soon?
Tushar: Let’s interact at
the planning level.
Rishi: the UDD and MMRDA have
a bigger impact on greening Mumbai than the Tree Authority.
N: We can send Draft to MMRDA
V: We have at this stage an
MoU with BMC, and not with MMRDA so let’s not be too hopeful.
N: We tried to save many of
the trees under MUIP, MUTP. We need to work out suggestions before
planning on how the planning should be done with trees, and send
this to the appropriate forum.
Mr.Kothawala: What is your
wish list from us?
1) adoption of plots
2)Adoption of roads
3) Dialogue with Govt. for foresting of ND zones, collector’s
4) Encouraging MbPT, WR, CR, etc to undertake tree plantation.
Mr.Ruia: There should be second
water pipeline (of non-potable water) for greening purposes only.
We could fund this.
N: Our new policy states that
water should be sourced from:
1) recycled sewage water
2) Rain water harvesting
3) bore wells
BMC will provide 3 l/sq.m
Sudhir: We should not make
a forest of Mumbai – there should be balancing of
landscape, else the space becomes un-utilisable.
V: We need to take a holistic
N: In the last few years,
the BMC doesn’t give Occupancy Certificate unless the mandatory
trees are planted.
Tushar: There is an increase
in the number of trees in Mumbai, but the other pressures of population,
pollution, etc don’t make it felt.
Rishi: That is debatable –
under MUTP, so many good trees are gone.
N: Under MUTP/MUIP, we had
considered their proposals for roads, where they had made provisions
for new plantation – we specified which trees are to be planted,
their location, a condition that 10 ft. high trees will be planted
and maintained for 3 years.
For the colony gardens’ proposal,
we have also decided to empanel landscape architects.
Mr.Vani: We are targeting
MHADA colonies which are the most neglected.
N: There is often no security
at Municipal gardens, hence vandalism occurs. If NGO’s or local
citizens could come forward and provide security, BMC could better
maintain its gardens.
V: Rajendra has volunteered
to be the coordinator of this group. Please suggest experts and
concerned people to approach for joining in the core group and the