Municipal staff will be trained to conserve and manage trees, an agency will be hired to maintain trees and all trees labelled dangerous in the 2008 Tree Census will be inspected immediately.
These are some of the measures the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) listed on Wednesday to ensure the spate of tree collapses that killed three people and injured 11 this year is not repeated.
Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner, said: “We had convened a meeting of all ward-level horticulture assistants, personnel from the gardens department and independent experts for their views on how we could prevent such incidents. We plan to implement these soon.”
Experts said digging by various utilities in the city weakens the roots of trees making them prone to collapsing.
“We have decided to hire an agency, which will inspect the condition of trees at a spot where trenching work is being done,” Gupta said. “We will calculate the agency’s fee for each tree and make the utility doing the digging pay for the agency’s services.”
Another reason that could have been behind the spate of tree collapses was the barricading of a tree’s roots, experts said.
“A lot of times, trees on footpaths have concrete rings surrounding their bases, which experts believe damage the tree’s roots,” Gupta said. “We have instructed these experts to create a special design that will protect the crown but not harm the trees.”
A BMC official present at the meeting, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said: “We felt an urgent need to train our staff in arboriculture, which is the real study of trees.”
The BMC will also circulate a list of woodcutters in every ward. Housing societies can contact them to trim trees in their compound.