Monorail to add to Mumbai’s heat

Over 1500 trees to be felled, trimmed or transplanted to make way for monorail project, but making for a hotter city


Geetanjali Minhas | May 17, 2010

Declining tree cover and more concrete means Mumbai is storing and radiating more heat
Declining tree cover and more concrete means Mumbai is storing and radiating more heat

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) plans to fell 699 trees, trim 369 and transplant 493 to make way for 19.54 km monorail project, stoking more concern over continued heating up of the mega city.

“We will have to chop 699 trees between Jacob Circle and Wadala and 369 will need to be trimmed as they are obstructing construction of the monorail,” Dilip Kawathkar, a spokesperson for MMRDA, said. MMRDA was currently in the process of obtaining permission from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for felling and trimming of trees, he added.
Construction of monorail track will also require 493 trees to be transplanted.

As per the existing laws, trees that obstruct infrastructure work need to be transplanted. Where trees are chopped off, new ones need to be planted. Under the BMC’s current Tree Act, two new trees need to be planted for every tree felled.
MMRDA has said that it would plant 1,400 new trees at Mahim Nature Park, Wadala Depot, HPCL, Mahul and BPCL Mahul to compensate for the 699 it would fell. Work on monorail, which will run between Jacob Circle and Chembur via Wadala, started in December 2008. It is being built at a cost of Rs 2,450 crore by the L&T-SCOMI consortium.

Mumbai’s depleting tree cover has been blamed for sending its average temperatures soaring.
Officials from the BMC attribute rising temperatures to heavy congestion in certain areas.
“Areas like Chembur, Chinchili Bunder and Dadar are very congested; because of heavy vehicular traffic movement; carbon dioxide emission levels are also very high,” said Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer of BMC’s disaster management cell.

Kapil Gupta of the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT said: “Areas which have a large number of concrete buildings radiate more heat and are obviously warmer than those endowed with plentiful greenery.”
On an average, about 5,500 tress are chopped off every year in Mumbai to make way for infrastructure projects.



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