As the Antara Telang (18) and Tamanna Bhojani (30) cases demonstrated, walking on Mumbai’s could be perilous, thanks to untrimmed trees. Even as experts slammed civic policies, Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta admitted that the pruning system needs an overhaul.
The rules say trees must be trimmed four times a year. But that is never done.
Tree trimming is now done strictly on a need-to basis. We trim a tree only if we feel it’s required. Otherwise, this provision can be misused.
What steps have you taken in the wake of the Telang case?
I immediately instructed officials to have stricter inspections and expedite the pruning process. Also, housing societies will be told to trim any dangerously growing trees in their compounds. We are studying the flaws in the system and looking for ways to improve.
How will you make the process of tree-pruning more citizen-friendly?
We expect people to participate in the process and keep us informed of any tree that needs pruning; it’s impossible for a handful of officials to inspect every tree in the city.
We also plan to set up a ‘Green Helpline’, which citizens could call if a tree needs pruning.
We’ll ensure that the process is accessible to people; records of all trimming permissions will be available online.
How do you plan to make inspections more effective?
In the Telang case, the tree was inspected, but not trimmed.
We knew of the problem, but couldn’t solve it. We will be proactive when it comes to trimming of trees.