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Film actor Juhi Chawla attends BMC meet in Mumbai over cutting, transplanting 389 trees for Malabar Hill Reservoir – Times of India



MUMBAI: Close to a hundred citizens gathered at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters in a meeting with Mumbai (suburban) guardian minister and MLA MP Lodha and BMC officials on Tuesday evening protesting against the civic body’s plans to cut and transplant 389 trees in order to reconstruct the Malabar Hill Reservoir above which stands the iconic Hanging Gardens of the Maharashtra capital.
Residents demanded that the plan for reconstruction be scrapped and Hanging Gardens, which is located above the reservoir, also be left untouched.
The gathering also saw Malabar Hill resident and film actor Juhi Chawla in attendance who requested the civic authorities to come up with alternative solutions.
TOI in its Tuesday edition had reported about how Hanging Gardens could be out of bounds with BMC’s plans for reconstructing the British era reservoir.
Lodha said that he had already discussed with citizens concerns over the issue with the Maharashtra chief minister and Deputy chief minister.
“I have also spoken to the municipal commissioner too and asked them to consider an alternative location for reconstructing the reservoir. Vacant land parcels at the new Coastal Road work site or at Mahalaxmi race course may be considered for constructing a reservoir and water can then be pumped through a hydraulic platform. Apart from it the notices from the trees will also be removed and staff quarters which have been served notices also need not be vacated by October 1,” said Lodha.
A decision was also made in the meeting to form a working group from among the citizens who would work with the BMC over the issue and also suggest alternate sites.
Additional municipal commissioner P Velrasu who was also present at the meeting said that the existing plan is what they have come up with currently but if citizens have any suggestions they are open to it.
“Only that these suggestions need to go past the rigor of the engineering test. There is no commercial interest involved in this project and it is being reconstructed only as a reservoir,” said Velrasu.
Chawla who voiced her opinion at the meeting too said that no one knows the landscape of Mumbai better than the BMC.
“Therefore it would be best if the BMC itself comes up with an alternative solution to the project,” she said.
Citizens at the meeting said that cutting of trees should not be kept as an option while implementing infrastructure projects.
“Trees are always the first casualty during the implementation of any new infrastructure project. This place is an ecosystem where birds, bees all gather around these trees and cutting them would mean it’s all lost. We also fear that reconstructing the reservoir may also loosen the soil of the hill,” said a resident.



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