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Alarmed at the recently publicized plans for the so-called makeover of Jijamata Udyan, Mumbai better known as Rani Bagh we, a group of Mumbai citizens and nature lovers, have formed an action committee to create awareness and oppose the proposed plans of the Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to convert a green haven into a concrete amusement park as per a Rs.433 crore contract with HKS Designer and Consultant International (a Thai-based Malaysian company) and the Portico Group (US).

Many of us are dedicated conservationists involved with environmental groups as volunteers and resource persons conducting nature trails and a host of nature education programmes.

The 53-acre Rani Bagh, currently both a botanical garden as well as a zoo, was established as a public botanical garden in 1861. It was only later that the animals were moved in. In a city choking on noxious fumes, Rani Bagh functions as a vital green lung and is one of the last remaining vast, tree-covered expanses with affordable pubic access in the island city.

We exhort the authorities to stress the botanical aspect of Rani Bagh among the visiting public and raise its level up to environmentally-accepted international standards. We further request the Municipal Corporation and the Central Zoo Authority to harness Rani Bagh’s vast natural resources to educate the common public about its rich heritage.


Our two-pronged approach is to ensure:

  1. that not a single tree is sacrificed to make space for any construction activity in the entire 53 acre campus

  2. that the public park continue to be accessible to common citizens at the current affordable entry fee

Our fears stem from the following current trends:

  1. Conversion of public open green spaces into concretized amusement centres

  2. Concretization of open areas which act as soak basins for rainfall leading to increasingly disastrous flooding in Mumbai

  3.  Indiscriminate granting of permission by the BMC’s Tree Authority (located within the Rani Bagh complex itself) to fell trees in Mumbai and its suburbs for any type of construction activity be it roads, buildings etc.

  4. The colossal waste of public moneys (Rs. 433 crore in this instance) to set up glamorous concretized projects accessible to only a few when the same money could be utilized for the public good, for instance tree planting and maintenance, preservation of forest cover, environment education etc.

We propose:

  1. Mass circulation of a petition to the Municipal Commissioner and Superintendent of Gardens, Mumbai through various eco-groups, newspapers and magazines

  2. Using our website a) to give information on the botanical and heritage aspect of Rani Bagh through photographs and write-ups b) to post information about our action plans and programs and c) to create a forum where concerned citizens can post their views on the issue

  3. To offer our assistance as volunteers

(i) to chart out and conduct a variety of nature trails in Rani Bagh

(ii) to have appropriate labeling and signage for at least 500 prominent trees giving common and scientific names, brief history, uses    etc.

(iii) to prominently display large Notice Boards in the park with maps indicating the position of at least 25 prominent/age-old/unique/award winning trees

(iv) to conduct surveys of birds, butterflies and mammals (mongoose, rodents, bats, squirrels)

(v) to conduct group programmes showcasing the diversity of flora and fauna

(vi) to help gather historical information and publish a compendium of Rani Bagh flora and fauna

We invite you to strengthen our efforts to dissuade the BMC from converting our public arboreal paradise into a restricted concrete amusement park by circulating and signing the petition and making this protest heard.

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