Delhi rain: Over 60 tree damage complaints registered
New Delhi: Gusty winds and thunderstorm activity on Monday caused damage to large number of trees across Delhi underlining the threat posed by the increasing concretisation and weakening of tree roots in the city. The highest number instances of trees getting uprooted during the storm on Monday morning were reported from southern part of the city, data showed. While the Municipal Corporation of Delhi reported trees being damaged in at least 60 locations, reports from various agencies show that Delhi Fire Services (DFS) received 20 calls related to tree uprooting and Delhi police received 62 complaints. No casualties were reported in either incident.
According to the official monsoon reports issued by the MCD, various control rooms and helplines of civic body received 60 complaints related to tree felling and damage to trees from across the city. The maximum number of trees were damaged in south Delhi areas in the Central zone, with 13 cases reported from locations such as Defence Colony, Lajpat Nagar, Sarita Vihar etc; 11 calls were received from the Najafgarh zone, which includes locations such as Dwarka and Palam; 10 cases from South zone areas like Safdarjung enclave, CR park and Malviya Nagar and 7 trees were damaged or uprooted in the in West zone areas of Mayapuri, Tagore Garden and Rajouri Garden.
A municipal official added that reports from trans-Yamuna areas have seven tree felling reports from places like Mayur Vihar, Seemapuri and Mansarovar Park. In the northern part of the city, 10 trees were uprooted in Karol Bagh zone areas and one each in Civil Lines and City-Sadar Paharganj zone covering Old Delhi.
The damaged trees also caused widespread traffic snarls in various parts of the city in early morning office commuting hours. Vivek Tiwari, a commuter in North West Delhi said that a tree was uprooted on the main Rohtak road near Maharaja Agrasen hospital causing massive jam while Gaurav Dhakate stated that a similar situation prevailed on Mathura road near Okhla tank.
A Delhi traffic police official said that traffic police disaster management teams and civic agencies were pressed into action to undertake the herculean task of clearing fallen trees and branches after heavy downpour to reduce congestion.
“In most cases, the tree starts losing its strength due to concretisation around it. This weakens the roots and also reduces the amount of water permeating through, making the tree prone to falling down during a storm. Some trees may weaken due to diseases and termites as well, which then require the use of chemicals,” said the official.
While a Delhi High court order and later a National Green Tribunal (NGT) mandate for a 1-metre or 6x6 radius to be left around a tree – allowing it to get water and its roots to get nourished, the rules are largely flouted, with experts blaming concretisation for such frequent instances of trees getting uprooted during a storm.
Padmavati Dwivedi, a tree activist says while it is natural that some trees succumb to strong winds during storms, this figure could be reduced considerably if agencies did not concretise the areas around trees, or damaged their roots by digging too close to them. “All civic agencies are well aware of this as enough has been written. Yet, they seem to be failing in the implementation of these existing orders each year,” she said.
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