Mumbai: Ailing rain trees hacked, saplings drying up

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 21, 2015 22:34 IST

Even as BMC is yet to find a way to cure infected rain trees and is felling many of them, the new saplings planted in their place are drying up.

As many as 49 mealy bug-infected rain trees on New Link Road in DN Nagar, Andheri (West), were chopped off by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) around ten days ago.

The saplings planted last week have already dried up.

HT had reported last week how the BMC had started a tree-for-tree campaign on the stretch to compensate for the loss of rain trees.

Activists say the trees could have been saved if the civic body had taken timely action.

“I had prepared an extensive report on Mumbai’s rain trees and presented it to the garden department in January last year, but no action was taken,” said Kshitij Ashtekar, an activist who has been involved in saving trees.

A message — Who shaved me? — has been painted on the trunks of chopped trees in DN Nagar.

“We had sprayed insecticides on the trees, but they were not effective. Hence, we have completely hacked them from the trunk and planted new trees in the same spot,” said Parag Masurkar, assistant commissioner of K West ward, under which the area falls.

After the infection was first spotted in rain trees across many areas in the island city and the western suburbs, the BMC undertook a survey and found 700 of them had been infected. Of these, 200 have been treated, 150 uprooted while the rest are still under treatment.

Following this, a non- governmental organisation, Vanashakti, and the botany department of Ramniranjan Jhunjhunwala College, Ghatkopar, also carried out a survey of 1,956 rain trees.

The survey found that concretisation of tree bases majorly compromised the health and immunity of the rain trees.

While the BMC has been using insecticides, bio-medicines and even ladybugs in some places to treat mealy bug-infected rain trees, these methods have not been entirely successful.

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