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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

No policy to compensate tree-fall victims, says TMC

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2019 01:03 IST
Hindustantimes
         

Forty-year old Sriram Yadav’s nightmare started two months ago on a rainy day in July. Yadav, an autorickshaw driver, was waiting for passengers at Wagale Estate, when a tree came crashing down.

For the past two months, Yadav is bed-ridden and has spent more than Rs2 lakh for treatment. Despite making the rounds of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) office, he has not got any compensation.

Yadav said, “I was waiting for passengers in my autorickshaw on road number16, when the tree crashed on my auto. The tree fell on my back and leg and I was admitted to a private hospital. I am still being treated for my back and leg. I am the sole earning member of my family and have two children.”

Yadav claimed he has exhausted his savings and has taken loans from people for his expenses. He is not even able to get ration as he is not cleared the earlier dues.

Yadav recalled his experience after two people were killed in a tree-fall incident near Thane railway station on Tuesday.

“We do not have a policy to compensate those injured in tree-fall cases. Compensation is given only in rare cases and after approval of the general body. We had given compensation to Kishore Pawar, 38, who died in 2017 and also to his wife,” said a TMC official.

More than 720 trees have collapsed in Thane since January, the highest in the past five years. While the municipal corporation blamed all incidents on heavy rain, residents have blamed the unscientific approach to planting, trimming and the choice of trees.

As per the TMC records, in the past five years 2,614 trees have fallen in the city. The official said, “Since 2015, 2,614 trees and 1204 branches have fallen across the city. Till October 2019, 720 trees fell across the city. The increase in number of tree falls this year is due to heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds.”

Activists have blamed the corporation for the tree-fall incidents.

Pradeep Indulkar, who filed a petition on unscientific trimming of trees, said, “There are several factors which lead to tree falls. The first is that trees are not planted in the right way. The soil cover on the roots is not as per the approved standard. Second, the indigenous species of trees are not planted. Preference is normally given to fast growing trees, which might not survive for long.”

He added that the third important factor is trees are not trimmed according to procedure. He said, “If the balance of the trees is not maintained while trimming, they will fall. The corporation should take care of the factors to prevent tree falls. These are immediate measures. The policy for trimming of trees will take time.”

If there is any digging around the tree, it can weaken the roots.

Activist Rohit Joshi blamed concretisation for tree-fall incidents. “Rampant concretisation around trees has increased the number of tree-fall cases in the city. The soil cover around trees is replaced by concrete, weakening the roots.”

OFFICIAL SPEAK

Sandeep Malvi, deputy municipal commissioner of TMC, said, “The unfortunate incident was a natural calamity. But, we will follow the proper legal procedure and do whatever we can for those who died. The civic commissioner held a meeting last week after the Supreme Court decision. He has given directives to the tree authority to start formulating a policy of cutting and trimming trees.”

First Published: Oct 10, 2019 01:03 IST

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