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A week after ex-DD anchor’s death, Mumbai NGO says soil around trees lining T2 road removed

NGO complains to civic chief; airport officials say work is monitored by experts

mumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2017 15:14 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Mumbai tree fall,Tree fall in Mumbai,Mumbai trees

A week after former Doordarshan anchor Kanchan Nath was crushed to death in Chembur by a falling tree, NGO Watchdog Foundation filed a complaint with the municipal commissioner about soil being removed from around palm trees on the road leading to the T2 Terminal in Andheri.

Removing soil close to trees or concretising the areas close to the roots could weaken them and cause them to fall, especially during heavy rains.

The 500-metre stretch line with palm trees is one of the major roads connecting the city to the airport, via the Andheri-Kurla road.

“There are 64 trees that could be as tall as 30 feet. But some 2-3 feet near the base of trees along this busy road has been removed. This could weaken the tree. A strong wind in the monsoon could lead to another fatal accident,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, Watchdog Foundation.

The authorities responsible for the maintenance of the road, however, said the activity was undertaken as part of a beautification drive, in which more saplings would be planted on the stretch.

READ: Mumbai woman killed in tree fall: She was going to visit pregnant daughter

They said the process had already begun and that they were waiting for a dry spell to plant saplings.

“We have the plants ready in the nursery; we just need 15 days to get the work done, provided it doesn’t rain,” said officials from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).

The officials said there was no cause for concern as a horticulture specialist was working on the project. The municipal commissioner has now directed the issue to ward officer in charge. “I will look into the issue immediately,” said Devendra Jain, ward officer, K-East. Pimenta said the chances of trees being uprooted during the monsoon were higher, as the area around their trunks had been concretised.

“According to guidelines laid down by the ministry of urban development and poverty alleviation, a minimum area of 6x6 feet around trees must be deconcretised. These trees are on a road, so the roots cannot puncture the ground and make their way downwards,” he said.

As rains continue in the city, the risk of falling trees only increase. Over the weekend, around 57 trees fell across the city, while four days of heavy rainfall last month uprooted 199 trees.

Three tree-fall deaths were reported since June — a teen, a 37-year-old man and the 57- year-old former Doordarshan anchor died.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 15:14 IST