Rattled by the increasing number of thefts of tree guards (metal grills that are placed around saplings), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now asked citizens and local NGOs to keep an eye on them and monitor if they are being stolen.
"The tree guards are either stolen or vandalised and its purpose of protecting trees and saplings itself is defeated," said BMC Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya at the tree committee meeting on Friday.
When committee members pointed out that the BMC should also look after the saplings and newly planted trees, Kshatriya, the chairman of the committee, said that the civic body will continue to provide fencing, but there was need to protect them.
Due to increase in the number of thefts of metal covers of manholes, the BMC has replaced them with sturdy fibre-made thermodrains.
BMC officials said they will explore the possibility if such a concept can be replicated in tree guards.
"NGOs or local residents cannot go and sit there and guard the metal fencing. The officials just place the grills and go away. They should try to give these metal grills some kind of a base or bury the lower half inside the earth so that they can be made immovable," said Sunish Subramaniam, president of Plant and Welfare Society.