Garden SI blames NMC budget crisis for no tree census
The ever careless garden department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has not performed tree census since the last eight years in the city. This revelation has come as a shock, given that recently Nagpur was listed amongst the green cities in the country.
As of today, we are clueless about the amount to green cover left in Nagpur.
However, the exact number of trees counted in the last census, conducted in 2011, was 21,43,838, which meant nine trees for every 10 persons.
As per The Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees (Amendment) Act, 2016 it is mandatory to carry a census of the existing trees in all lands within its jurisdiction, once before December and thereafter once in every five year.
It may be noted that the tree counting generally takes around four months for a city like Nagpur.
The data helps the authorities to keep a tab on illegal tree felling in the city.
As per an official source in NMC garden department, between 2005 and 2011 NMC permitted the chopping off of as many as 3,432 fully grown trees. Other than these hundreds were cut without permission or choked to death due to the NMC officials’ apathy or got uprooted due to climatic issues.
“To compensate the chopping off of the trees, the NMC garden department started an initiative to plant five trees for every one that it allows to be cut. However, going by their claim, a total of 14,825 trees should have been planted, but shockingly only 984 were actually planted”, said the official source.
An anonymous source from the garden department said, “There could be some hidden motive behind it. So many construction activities like, Maha Metro, cement road constructions are going on. Numerous full grown trees have been chopped during this period. It’s a simple thing to understand, if we do not have the data of how many trees were felled, who is going to object”, the person added.
No budget for tree census
We have not conducted the counting of trees in Nagpur since 2012. Ideally it should be done in every five years. NMC does not have the budget for tree census. However, the process is now ongoing and may be in next two months the tender will be floated, says Garden Superintendent, Amol Chorpagar.
Green city, may be a myth!
I believe that we are ignoring the mass tree chopping going around the city and are living in a myth that Nagpur will be green forever. Also, we have no data of how much compensatory plantation has been done in the past few years, said city environmentalist, Kaustav Chatterjee.