Mumbai: Andheri residents cry foul over death of rain trees

Residents allege that the BMC is dragging its feet and there has been an increase in the number of trees being 'killed' in their area

Residents of Andheri are concerned about Rain trees of their area. Observing that trees in the K/West ward have been disappearing for some time, residents are alleging that the number of trees dying an unnatural death has spiked in the last couple of months.

Residents allege that most trees that are dying are located near construction sites and are blocking the view or sunlight of the under-construction apartments. Pics/Nimesh Dave
Residents allege that most trees that are dying are located near construction sites and are blocking the view or sunlight of the under-construction apartments. Pics/Nimesh Dave

“Coincidentally, most of these trees are located near construction sites or in posh localities. I have seen BMC officials cut branches off them almost every other day, as they might be blocking the view or sunlight of these construction sites.

Eventually, nothing except the trunk is left of these trees, most which are decades old, and they die. The civic body needs to stop fooling us into thinking they are actually taking any action to protect them,” said Narendra Sahu, a resident of Amboli.

Residents also fear that the dying trees may fall without any warning. Rebecca D’souza, another local resident, further alleged, “Kids roam around on the streets, as there are many hangout places on the same road where we have observed that at least five trees are about to die. We know that they are not dying, but are being ‘killed’.”

Kshitij Ashtekar, the Accenture employee who had surveyed 611 trees in February across the Western suburbs to find out the condition of Rain trees, said, “It is sad to know that we have no evidence why these trees are dying.

In the case of a tree in Malad that had visible holes, an FIR was registered immediately. However, no one has been caught in the case; had there been any arrests, the story would have been different today. The BMC has failed to prevent our trees from dying.”

BMC speak
Speaking to mid-day, Vijay Hire, superintendent of gardens, said, “I have sent letters to plants and anthropology experts, but currently they are unable to visit the city because of the upcoming elections. They say they don’t have vehicles and even we are unable to provide it.

Therefore, the work is getting delayed. However, they will visit as soon as elections are over.” When asked if the BMC has been cutting trees in the area, he said, “We only cut a tree if it is dying and there are chances that it may fall any time soon.”

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