March 2009

Pune Tree Watch, Monthly Report, March 2009
1. Alerts, Action and Campaigns
i) Material
A leaflet/flier was prepared to distribute amongst people touching on the topic of Pune Tree Watch and how help can be sought easily when citizens see trees getting cut.
ii) Save Bund Garden

Tasneem attended meeting against the bund garden proposed bridge and river road proposal. The proposed road would go along the river bank and would affect three gardens. Pune Tree Watch will be supporting the campaign against the road.

iii) Sporadic and brutal MSEB tree felling
Subhojit Roy, reported that many trees/branches were being cut by the MSEB axe on the street where he lives. The pretext: Some branches had apparently fallen on one of the electrical lines and created a problem.

The problem being that they are cutting/pruning much more than necessary. Which means some of the trees may not live after this onslaught of the people from MSEB.

When he approached them he was dismissed saying “If you have any problems, go talk to PMC in their office. Let us do our work”. One person was shouting at him saying that he should get the trees pruned with his own money. A third was of the opinion that those were not “useful” trees !!!

This is a common problem faced by many citizens. We have often spoken to the Commissioner on this issue, but nothing has come of it. It was decided that at some point a meeting with the MSEB in charge should
iv) Help requested from Florence

PTW received a request for help from Florence, Italy to save trees that will be facing the axe for development purposes. The group has incorporated some aspects of our work in their petition. They have requested that Puneites lend a hand and sign the petition which is available at http://livepetitions.us/saveitaliantrees

2. Official Processes

A meeting with the Chief Information Officer of PMC Mr Rajendra Erande, was held at the PMC. Also present were Mr Jagzap, Tree Officer, Vishawanath, IT personnel and we were later joined by Yadav, who is the clerk at the GD, Alok from PTW and Rohan from Kalpavriksh.

There is a prelim list that we had which is

a) making the docket more user friendly with a sort option area/ward wise
b) making it available on time
c) also enabling extrapolations like tree felling counts etc.
d) translation to another language if possible

The translation would be on hold till we don’t find suitable language translation software. But besides that each point was discussed in great detail and mostly about the processes followed and what are the possible hitches.

So the above three will be worked towards within a period of two months. And then we can take it from there for further improvisations like adding the decisions of the docket on the sites and the status of the site visits if and when conducted by the Tree Authority.

They are also in the process of designing an e-application process for the Garden dept, which looks good. We did mention about the objections bit and to create that space. From what we saw, that application process looked pretty good. We did point out the presence of a similar effort by virtue of the Garden dept website http://www.punecorporation.org/gardens/index.aspx and it was flagged that it could perhaps be incorporated within this existing programme or site.

Yadav has stated that the lack of machinery, one personnel and the internet connection makes it difficult to make the docket more efficient. He said that the GD needs 2 computers, internet, and one data entry operator. The Commissioner has issued as order to make the necessary arrangements.

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