40 branches of trees axed, 60 more to go ahead of Prez visit
Agriculture College 59 trees on campus perceived as security threat
President Pratibha Patil's scheduled visit to the College of Agriculture, Pune, on June 10 to inaugurate its new building has proved costly for the green cover of the college, with the garden department of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) granting permission to axe over 100 branches of 59 trees for security reasons.
Already, about 40 branches, mainly of trees in front of the new Centenary Building and on the approach road from the Mhasoba Gate to the building, perceived as a security threat, have been chopped off.
The college authorities had sought permission on May 31 and the garden department granted it the next day. The list of 59 includes 36 rain trees, eight neem trees, eight ashoka trees and two tamarind trees aged between 35 and 45 years. Of the 40 branches chopped off, many were healthy and leafy and had a diameter of 40 to 50 centimetres.
The decision was apparently taken by the college authorities following an inspection by University Vice-Chancellor and the college principal a week ago. "In our proposal, we submitted a list of dead and drooping branches of trees in front of the new building and on the road and said they needed to be cut off so that they do not pose a security threat to the President during her visit. The PMC garden officials inspected the trees and cut down branches according to their criteria. Our men didn't even touch the trees," said Dr B R Ulmekh, Associate Dean and Principal of the College. Ulmekh added that the college plants thousands of trees every year on and outside the campus.
Some college officials, however, said that giving an unhindered sight of the new building from the approach road played an important part in cutting down the branches as they covered a good portion of the building.
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