KARACHI: A 90-year-old and huge size Banyan tree was cut down by the administration of Amma Tower along M.A Jinah Road, opposite to Nishat Cinema on Monday early morning.
A shopkeeper selling mobile phones, Muhammad Hassan told Daily Times that administration of Amma Towers, a commercial building on main M.A Jinnah Road, brought in some labours with cutters and chopped down the old tree.
"They [Amma Tower management] said that the huge tree is disturbing the view of the building, therefore they should cut it down, earlier, they set it on fire, but even then it survived, but now finally they cut it," he said.
Despite tall claims made by provincial government of Sindh to protect the forest cover of Karachi, the cutting of century's old indigenous trees in the city has continued. Such brutal practice is pushing this fast growing mega city, which is already declared one of the polluted cities, towards a natural disaster.
Being Pakistan's largest city and an industrial and commercial hub, Karachi needs more trees for balancing the ecosystem, but different civic bodies, builders and even citizens have continued to cut down trees, usually with a lame excuse such as the trees were hindering utility services, damaging footpaths or being an obstacle for electricity wires and sewerage lines or on the name of widening the roads and constructing bridges.
Sometimes, authorities even remove the old trees in city if they want to erect huge size roadside advertisement billboards, but now that practice has reduced, as Supreme Court of Pakistan has banned the installation of huge size roadside advertisement billboards in the city.
After getting the information about the cutting of Banyan tree, the officials of Saddar town administration visited the site and said that they will cut the tree into the pieces and will remove it from the location, so that traffic may not disrupt.
However, officials have no plan to lodge an FIR against the culprits or arrest any one. "No, we are not lodging any FIR, as it will be difficult to prove that who has cut the tree," said Muhammad Hamad, an official of Saddar town administration.
In 2015, a deadly heatwave hit Karachi that had killed over 1,300 people, after which Sindh government announced to plant three million trees in the city, but that promise has not been fulfilled and even the government failed to protect city's existing trees.