Even as the civic body claims to have cut 340 dangerous trees and pruned 12,000 before the monsoon, the techniques used have been “unscientific,” alleged members of the BMC’s expert tree committee.
Almost 10 months after the civic body was supposed to distribute a scientific and practical tree-pruning manual prepared by the expert tree committee across all wards, the manual is still stuck in its scripting stage.
The expert committee was set up in July 2011 after HT launched its campaign highlighting how outdated tree-pruning mechanisms and civic negligence were endangering lives of citizens.
“We had to complete the manual before the rains. But the corporation has not commissioned sufficient meetings with us to discuss and formulate even a draft,” said Dr Sharad Chaphekar, committee chairperson.
On Wednesday, a panel constituted by HT conducted an audit of vulnerable trees in the city. The panelists, Avinash Kubal, deputy director, Maharashtra Nature Park, and Dr Vidyadhar Ogale, former head of the landscape section, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), said that several trees were on the brink of collapse.
“Tree-pruning is a scientific process, which needs to be carried out keeping in mind the tree specie, the landscape and the overall balance. Most trees have been trimmed without considering these factors,” said Ogale, also an expert tree committee member. “We are barely given an hour’s notice by the civic body to attend a commissioned committee meeting, making it difficult for us to attend,” he added.
Other members also highlighted how they were neglected by the BMC. “Despite our contribution, the BMC has not given us recognition,” said Suhas Joshi, committee member.
Civic authorities said there were practical difficulties in commissioning meetings. “We will begin work on the manual soon,” said Suhas Karwande, deputy municipal commissioner (gardens).