THEN : ASD S P Lal and Senior Inspector Rajendra Kulkarni planting trees on occasion of World Environment Day 2016

Ranjit Mahanti

THE Indian Navy in Mumbai has, these days, forgotten its slogan: Shaṃ No Varunaḥ; (May the Lord of the Water be auspicious unto us). Navy officers have massacred six-month-old plants at the Naval Civilian Housing Colony (NCH) in Kanjurmarg (west) to make way for a sports academy to be run by former cricketer Kiran More.

The Navy adopted several green initiatives recently, claiming a commitment to the preservation of the environment. On the occasion of World Environment Day (on June 6, 2016), Navy officers planted more than 500 plants at NCH Colony, Kanjurmarg (West), to initiate awareness drives to integrate the philosophy of environment consciousness as also to ensure a greener and cleaner tomorrow for future generations. On this occasion, Admiral Superintendent S. P. Lal, Commodore Vivek Agrawal, Captain Sukhchain Singh Sandhu and other Navy officials, Senior Police Inspector Rajendra Kulkarni, Kendriya Vidyalaya principal Pramila Pal, St. Xavier’s school principal Lopes Simon Diago, students and colony residents were invited. On that occasion, more than five hundred saplings were planted, out of which over 150 saplings were planted on the unused ground, behind swimming pool. The remaining saplings were planted next to administrative office and both sides of the road.

THEN : Children planting trees on occasion of World Environment Day 2016

The NCH colony residents witnessed a shocking incident last month. The Navy authorities massacred the six-month-old saplings planted on unused ground. They even uprooted most samplings that were planted on either side of the road. Residents were informed that a sports academy was coming up on the ground. Basketball, volleyball, tennis and cricket facilities would be available at the academy.

Sources said the sports academy was being created for former cricketer Kiran More. The authorities did not follow any rules and regulations to chop off the plants or create the sports academy. Sources also said that the Navy was so kind to Kiran More only because he was the classmate of a top Navy officer’s wife. Work on the sports academy is on in full swing.

NOW : The same place where 150 plants were planted

The department clarified:
It is correct that 150 saplings were planted at NCH colony, Powai, on June 6, 2016. Out of these only 10 were planted in the area designated for the Sports Complex. The designated area is behind the swimming pool and does not have any trees. The saplings planted have been relocated to various places.

ASD Sanjeev Kale and former cricketer Kiran More

As far as the sports facility is concerned, no agreement has been made. There have been discussions with SRS Sports for the same. The firm has agreed to provide coaching to Naval Dockyard sports teams free of cost and to that of children of personnel at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 600 per month. Prior to its initiation of discussions with the company, a presentation and interaction with the partners, i.e. Kiran More and Praveen Amre, with the Block representatives and the Works Committee was held at the community hall of the colony. Subsequently the modus operandi of its functioning was presented to the Union associations and the Works Committee and was cleared by them. Also, the meetings with the Unions and Works Committee were held in presence of the Deputy Labour Welfare Commissioner attached with the Yard.

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