Money grows on trees: City managers, provincial govt plan to chop down 1,400 trees

Published: August 28, 2014
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The city administration is planning to chop down the 1,400 trees in the three-acre ‘city forest’ in front of the Dolmen City in Clifton. PHOTO: COURTESY GOOGLE MAPS

The city administration is planning to chop down the 1,400 trees in the three-acre ‘city forest’ in front of the Dolmen City in Clifton. PHOTO: COURTESY GOOGLE MAPS

KARACHI: 

The ruthless greed of the city’s administration has reared its ugly head once more as rumours emerge that it plans to chop down 1,400 trees in front of the Dolmen City in order to pave way for billboards, The Express Tribune learnt on Wednesday.

Senior officials of the Sindh government and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) plan on chopping down the trees planted in a three-acre area called the ‘city forest’. The trees were planted in 2008 in an attempt to beautify the city and to improve the environment. “The officials plan to give the contract to an advertising firm for billboards,” claimed a KMC official who wished to remain anonymous. “These Corynocarpus trees are the lungs of the city. A total of 2.5 million trees were planted to counter the city’s environmental pollution. The city will be unable to breathe if the trees are cut down, and a population of nearly 23 million people will be affected.”

Former KMC administrator Fahim Zaman Khan also confirmed these rumours. “There is a strong possibility that these may turn out to be true,” he said. “Even ministers are involved.”

Khan added that this is not the only incident of KMC endorsing the removal of trees in the area. “A restaurant in the vicinity also removed the trees around it in order to provide seating arrangements outside its premises,” he said. “They are getting away with whatever they want. Civil society members, non-governmental organisations, the media and all those who love this city should raise their voices if they want to prevent this.”

To highlight the gravity of the situation, Khan added that thousands of trees are being callously chopped down in the entire city, and while everyone has noticed them, very few take any action regarding it.

A member of the Shehri-Citizens for a Better Environment, Dr Raza Gardizi, claimed that the chopping down of these trees will be extremely detrimental to the environment, as well as to the appearance of the city. “If someone does intend on cutting down these trees then our organisation will resist them at all costs.”

KMC claims ignorance

However, KMC administrator Rauf Akhtar Farooqui while talking to The Express Tribune says that while he could not vouch for the provincial government, he is certain that no KMC officials are involved. “I don’t know if senior members of the Sindh government are involved in this or not, but I can assure you that if something like this surfaces, then the KMC will fight it with all its resources,” he said. “I can promise you that while I sit on the administrator’s chair, those trees will not be harmed.”

When contacted, KMC parks and horticulture director Abdul Haseeb claimed that he is unaware of any plan to chop down these trees. However, he added that an inquiry will be made into the matter and KMC staff will be meanwhile deployed to ensure that no trees are harmed. “No one will even lay a hand on them,” he claimed.

SHC prevents cutting down of trees

In December 23, 2011, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had ordered against the cutting down of green trees along the Sharae Faisal, one of the city’s main arteries.

A citizen, Shakeel Ahmed, had gone to court against the Karachi Cantonment Executive Officer and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation on the cutting of green trees planted along the main Sharae Faisal from the Gora Qabristan to the main gate of the Regent Plaza for ‘advertising purposes and for earning revenue at the expense of the environment’.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Nida Ali
    Aug 28, 2014 - 7:10AM

    Cutting down trees in rural and urban areas needs to stop now!!! Sustainable sources for paper and other purposes should be explored.

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  • Muhammad Jawwad
    Aug 28, 2014 - 10:22AM

    The Marketing Association of Pakistan should request companies not to rent such boards. Companies should consider this as CSR. No awards for those who do not listen.

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  • Genius
    Aug 28, 2014 - 12:11PM

    Cutting down trees? It is madness. We all should plant as many trees as we can, wherever we can find suitable place. Better to plant fruit trees e.g. mango trees. Looking down on the Mall one can see many places where trees can be planted. One does not see any tree in the car park. Parking under the shade of tree on a hot day is very comforting.

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  • intellectual.pseudo
    Aug 28, 2014 - 4:49PM

    Shocking news based on rumors though… I hope the cutting down never happens… already so polluted city with so much less oxygen to breathe…

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  • vaqas
    Aug 28, 2014 - 5:41PM

    I protest against the greedy, power hungry, money grabbing baffoons who bring shame to my city with deplorable actions such as these tree cutting drives and illegal constructions, such as the underpass in front of kothari parade. They sould be prosecuted, jailed and humiliated on air for their ruthlessness.

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  • Timorlane
    Aug 28, 2014 - 9:08PM

    @intellectual.pseudo: rumors !!??? The whole city is plundered on this way by Wadera Corruption Party thugs and their mafia allies

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  • karachiite
    Aug 28, 2014 - 11:00PM

    do we even need more billboards around dolmen. that road is already plagued with billboards from the beginning to end. Theyre a menace to everyone eyes. The trees are the only sign of partial natural relief in that area. this is ridiculous.

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  • Syed and Syed
    Aug 29, 2014 - 2:55AM

    I quote example of Iran. When a tree is planted even in front or inside his house no one is allowed to cut it. It carries punishment.That is why even lanes are green

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  • Ali S
    Aug 29, 2014 - 3:28AM

    In the absence of a public healthcare system or vehicle emission control, trees are pretty much the only defense that the people of Karachi have against numerous respiratory distress problems caused by severe air pollution. Instead of cutting down mini-forests for a few billboards, they could save much more in healthcare costs by planting more trees. But you can’t expect any vision from this govt.

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  • Rahi
    Aug 29, 2014 - 7:41AM

    Are you out of your Mind? Whoever came up with this Idea must be fired immediately. Save trees and plant more with each passing day, not cut thousands down just for the sake of Advertisement. This is insane.

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