Officials cut down 17 trees claiming they were ill and posed a threat to pedestrians; BMC's standing committee chairman demands inquiry
The residents of Chembur's Anushakti Nagar are left scratching their heads over the cutting of trees in the area.
Bites the dust: Officials said that even though the exact reason for the
death of trees was unknown, they suspect the trees were affected by a
The sudden loss of the trees that once provided shelter from the sun to pedestrians led BMC's standing committee chairman and Chembur corporator Rahul Shewale to send a letter to the municipal commissioner asking him to investigate the curious case of the vanishing trees.
Shewale, said, "The rain trees (Samanea Saman) were very old and suddenly I noticed some people cutting down the trees. When I enquired about the trees, BMC officials told me that the trees had to be cut down, as they were dying and posed a threat to pedestrians and passers-by."
The corporator also held a meeting with members from the tree authority and local garden department officials to inquire about the trees. "The officials have told me that they are investigating the matter and would state it in their report. These trees were huge and we still don't know why they were dying," he added.
An official from the garden department (M-West ward) added that the BMC had cut down the 17 trees in the area as they posed a threat to pedestrians. Explaining further, he told MiD DAY that the reason for the dying trees was still unknown but they suspected that a fungal infection was behind the loss of foliage. "Last year, several trees had died owing to a fungal infection. Trees in Bhandup, Mulund and Andheri were all affected. These trees are quite old and grew to a large size. Imagine the damage it could cause if a branch of one of these trees fell on someone."
However, he did not rule out poisoning as the reason behind the dying trees.
"Authorities are inspecting the trees and checking if any chemical was used to kill them," he added.
But it seems the decision to cut down the green cover in the area has disturbed residents.
Voicing their distress, Nikita A said, "The area is surrounded by greenery and the trees help in keeping the area cool. We fear losing the green cover will give developers an opportunity to build here."
Also called as Samanea Saman, a rain tree usually grows up to 25 m in height and 30 m in width. They grow along the roads and in parks and have no commercial value.