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Beware of falling trees in the rains: activists

Apart from potholed roads and chronic water logging, Mumbaikars have one more reason to worry this monsoon—falling trees. Alok Deshpande reports.

mumbai Updated: Jun 11, 2012 01:25 IST
Alok Deshpande
Alok Deshpande
Hindustan Times

Apart from potholed roads and chronic water logging, Mumbaikars have one more reason to worry this monsoon—falling trees.

Incidents of falling trees leading to deaths or severe accidents have been rising in the last two years, and there is a fear that it could only get worse this year. Even before the monsoon has officially set in, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has received five complaints of falling trees in different parts of Mumbai. Two complaints are from the island city, one from the eastern suburbs and two from the western suburbs. In addition, last week, a biker was injured at Wadala after a part of a tree fell on his right shoulder.

This year, the civic body says it has worked on around 12,000 trees across Mumbai till June 6. “Every year we follow this procedure. This year too we have completed trimming of trees. But sometimes such unfortunate incidents happen as there are 20 lakh trees in Mumbai,” said Suhas Karvande, deputy municipal commissioner, gardens and recreation. The BMC also identified 340 dangerous trees which were brought down before the monsoon. According to many civic activists, however, the BMC does not respond to complaints as quickly as it should. They say the procedure laid down by the civic civic body is too tedious. “I have filed 10 complaints to the ward office about dangerous trees. But nothing seems to have moved. Every time I enquire, I get the same answer of ‘waiting for permission from head office.’ I hope nothing untoward happens before the permission is obtained,” said Nikhil Desai, member of F-North residents’ forum. According to Avinash Kubal, deputy director, Maharashtra Nature Park and former member of the Tree Authority Committee, there is a need to audit trees as well. “Works such as pruning or cutting should finish in the summer itself. Along with the BMC, citizens too need to be proactive and keep checking trees in their localities at regular intervals,” he said.

Experts say there is no space for the roots of the trees to grow due to concretisation of the roads. “Human interference prevents the natural growth of a tree and this results in such incidents,” said Kubal. Last year, in two different incidents, three people lost their lives due to falling trees. In August 2011, a BMC report had listed 226 dangerous trees across the city that needed to be cut/trimmed.

First Published: Jun 11, 2012 01:24 IST