Assistant superintendent of PMC Garden Department, Preeti Sinha said trees posing a potential hazard or dangerously slanting trees are being trimmed or pruned year-round in each of the 14 wards of the city.
“We have set up a separate office in each ward to monitor trees which are tilting or with roots exposed. The ones posing a danger have been uprooted after taking the requisite permissions, and native saplings have been planted in their place. We ensure that this year there will be minimum damage,” Sinha said.
PMC says this won’t happen: A PMPML bus caught under a tree that came crashing down in the city during the rains in the past. File/pic
The department has been undertaking pruning and trimming activities every few months before the onset of the monsoon, but had come under fire from environmentalists last year, as over 80 trees fell between July and August causing damage to property.
Activists claim that major construction is causing trees to fall. “Frequent digging of roads by utility providers is likely to weaken the structure of the footpath where trees stand. Adding to that, they cement footpaths right up to the tree trunks, leaving no space for rainwater to trickle down to the roots,” said tree expert Nilesh Baxi.
Ketaki Ghate, member of Pune Tree Authority said that since there are lakhs of trees in the city, it is not possible to prune and trim each and every one and damage during the monsoon is likely.
“Mostly the damage to the roots is due to digging for service lines and cables or for construction of sewage chambers,” Ghate said.
Naturalists say that mostly exotic trees like gulmohar, plataforma or subabul that have a shallow root system get damaged and fall during heavy rain.
Sinha said the department has not planted a single exotic tree in the city since the past four years. “We can’t chop trees which are already there. But we are prepared for the monsoon and if there are any chances of accidents, we’ll take immediate action,” she said.