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Raining trees in Pune: 37 incidents in 3 days have residents at risk

According to civic authorities, the NGT in its order, asked the civic body to fill all the positions of the tree authority by August 11, until then there will be no permission to trim tree branches or fell old trees.

pune Updated: Jul 24, 2017 12:55 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Raining,trees in Pune,37 incidents
A tree fall on Auto rickshaw, distroying it, after heavy heavy rain in Pune over the weekend.(HT PHOTO)

Death of a former Doordarshan anchor due to a tree collapse in Mumbai has brought the issue to the forefront in Pune as well. The city has witnessed 37 incidents of tree collapses due to heavy rainfall in the past three days. A day after the Mumbai incident, citizens in Pune,too, complain about the civic administration's apathy towards this issue.

On Saturday, Kanchan Nath, a yoga instructor, died after a coconut tree snapped from its trunk and fell on her when she was returning home from work. Nath, 58, died instantly.

A Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) garden department official, requesting anonymity, expressed helplessness when asked why trees in the city were not trimmed before the monsoon. The official said that unlike Thane and Mumbai, there is a stay order on tree cutting in Pune by the National Green Tribunal unless the tree authority approves it. This is blocking the authorities from taking any action despite citizens complaining about the issue.

According to civic authorities, the NGT in its order, asked the civic body to fill all the positions of the tree authority by August 11, until then there will be no permission to trim tree branches or fell old trees. Unless, there is a committee formed no body can do anything about the issue.For now the fire brigade gets a call first, then, they coordinate with the garden department.

Prashant Ranpise, chief fire officer, PMC, said, “In the past three days, it rained heavily and we got 37 calls from across the city. We only cleared branches to facilitate the residents and then informed the garden department to pick up the debris.”

“We have a lot of old trees which are a threat to people’s lives. What happened in Mumbai is indeed a very dangerous incident,” said Rupesh Junawane, a resident and member of Aundh Vikas Mandal (AVM). He wrote a letter last year to the PMC to cut down an old tree since it can collapse any day but he is yet to get a response.

As per the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees, 1995 and 2009, Order of Bombay High Court, a procedure is followed for getting a provisional garden department No Objection Certificate (NOC) to remove dangerous trees but no one has data regarding trees which can be called dangerous or could fall down. On one hand, PMC’s hands are tied up due to the court order of the NGT and on the other hand, various city NGOs are focusing on saving trees or not letting the civic body trim or cut them.

Junawane suggested that a PMC official along with a NGO or tree foundation member should conduct a six monthly visit to various areas and record the health status of all trees.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 12:45 IST