The recent spate of rain in April has led to more than 50 tree falls, including a coconut tree, in the city. With the recent case of a 10-year-old girl passing away due to injuries suffered in a tree branch fall, the spectre of tree falls and the threat it poses to life or limbs has become real again.
Residents across the city have come down heavily on the civic body for not putting in place a systematic tree pruning mechanism.
Satyamurthy, founder president of Residential Welfare Association (RWA) Sanjaynagar, says: “The main problem is that nobody cares. Even if we do complain to the BBMP, they don’t take immediate action. They provide helpline numbers but we don’t get any help from them. Most of the time we try to solve it by ourselves,” he said.
Meenakshi, a resident of CK Achukattu, said the civic body’s apathy towards trees near her house has been so bad that despite being a tree lover, she is made to feel like getting them cut. “BBMP needs to maintain trees, prune them regularly to ensure the branches do not block electric lines and cut down dead branches. Every time it rains, we live in fear of a fall. Nobody from the BBMP’s forest cell responds to our calls and attends to our complaints,” she said.
After two years of being in coma, 10-year-old Rachel Prisha who sustained severe injuries after a dry tree branch fell on her head, passed away in February. Her father Raju now wants to become a volunteer to follow up on maintenance of trees and check for dry branches to be removed in the city. Still in trauma over losing his only daughter, Mr. Raju says: “Whatever happened to me should not happen to anyone. The authorities should take responsibility to take care of the trees”.
Tree activist Vijay Nishanth said the problem was that the city wakes up to maintenance of trees only during the monsoon and following a mishap. “After a period of time, every tree needs to be followed up regularly. Pruning old branches or extra branches is also healthy for trees,” he said. He also added that it was high time the city started using the latest technology like sensors to check on a tree’s health, to provide better monitoring. He argued that not only the civic body, even people must participate and come forward to monitor trees in their own localities, joining hands with the civic body.
Govindaraj, Deputy Conservator of Forests, BBMP, said the civic body does carry out regular checks across the city for trees that need pruning or weak wooded for removal. “In other seasons we usually get 2-3 complain daily about dead branches or weak wooded trees but it increases to 20-30 in monsoon. In the rainy season we expand major equipment and number of workers as well,” he said.