Recognising the need for specialists to inspect trees across the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to train its 24 existing horticulture assistants. Every ward has one horticulture assistant.
The decision comes after a series of reports in Hindustan Times that highlighted the need to involve experts and trained personnel for efficient tree pruning. As reported in HT, two people were killed last week and two others seriously injured earlier on during the monsoon because of untrimmed trees.
Chandrashekhar Rokade, deputy municipal commissioner (gardens), admitted that the BMC needs more expertise.
“There has been an increasing demand for arboriculturists, experts in tree science, rather than horticulturists and botanists, which the BMC currently has. As immediately recruiting arboriculturists is not possible, we plan to start training our existing staff to ensure they gain additional expertise in the field,” he said.
Arboriculturists can determine a tree’s health after inspection and recommend the kind of trimming required.
Rokade believes that this move should address the problem of over-pruning trees. “Many people have complained that unscientific trimming leads to over-pruning, which sometimes even causes the death of a tree. Having experts will help solve this problem,” he said.
Reacting to the BMC’s plan to train existing staff, Avinash Kubal, Tree Authority member and deputy director of Maharashtra Nature Park, said: “It’s a step in the right direction. Training the existing staff will ensure that the civic body at least has some experts in place, who could give a clear picture about the condition of the city’s trees.”
Rokade said: “Currently, our staff is caught up in intense pruning operations across the city. We plan to begin the training after the monsoon passes.”