BMC to Remove Decorative Tree Lights Installed During Beautification Plan

Mumbai's beautification plan involved wrapping trees with lights. BMC has asked civic wards to remove the lights within a week, as directed by an order from the Bombay High Court.

BMC to Remove Decorative Tree Lights Installed During Beautification Plan

A week ago, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was directed by the Bombay High Court (HC) to remove decorative lights from trees. On Tuesday, April 16, the civic body sent circulars to 17 wards, instructing them to get rid of the lights within a week. The lights were installed on trees along the Express Highway routes for the G-20 summit last year as part of the city's beautification plan.

BMC had wrapped lights around trees in the city and suburbs, illuminating several trees, particularly in Malabar Hill, Walkeshwar, and Breach Candy. However, a public interest litigation (PIL) petition was filed about the negative effects of light pollution on trees and other organisms dependent on the trees.

Following the PIL, the High Court sent notices to the Maharashtra government and the tree authorities in Mumbai, Mira-Bhayander, and Thane requesting their response. The state and the tree authorities have been given four weeks to submit their responses.

In the circulars, BMC has asked the civic wards to remove the wires, lighting, and high-tension cables from the trees. The circular stated that the assistant commissioner of the wards in question should cooperate with the contractor, M/s. ASC Power Pvt. Ltd., to remove the tree lighting.

In response to this, wards including H West (Bandra, Khar, and Santacruz), D Ward (Grant Road, Malabar Hill), and P North (Malad) have begun removing cables. The BMC lit up 15,000 trees along five roads in Juhu and Worli with LED lights in May 2023 for the G20.

The BMC's decision was criticized by residents. They had raised concerns about wires, lights, and high-tension cables. Thane environmental activist Rohit Joshi had also sent formal complaints to the authorities in Mumbai, Thane, and Mira-Bhayander. 

The exact amount of money spent on lighting is unknown, but information obtained from the BMC shows that overall, INR 766 crore was spent on the beautification project. The project included tasks like painting walls, footpaths, bridges, and dividers in addition to the illumination project. 

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