Mumbai: Why has the BMC spared this dangerous tree in Bandra?

Updated: Jan 09, 2020, 08:27 IST | Shailesh Bhatia | Mumbai

Bandra building residents claim they have been complaining for two years; say ambulance could not enter because of it.

The tree has tilted towards the gate of the building
The tree has tilted towards the gate of the building

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) annually claims to have chopped dangerous trees or branches before the monsoon. But they seem to have missed one tree, and not just before the monsoon, but almost for two years. Residents of a Bandra West building have alleged that repeated complaints regarding a precariously tilting coconut tree in its compound, have been ignored for two years. They claim civic officials keep telling them to go to the Fire Brigade with the issue, or to their other departments. However, the new in-charge of the Garden Department of H West ward has said he will look into the issue.

Tree trouble
The 14-feet tall coconut tree, is tilting towards the gate of Mont Blanc building opposite Jogger's Park. "Ours is a 30-year-old, six-storeyed building with seven apartments, and this is the only gate we have. In 2018 we (residents) observed that part of the tree had uprooted. Its tilt now is at almost 50 degrees. We wrote to the local ward office, but were directed to the Fire Brigade. They informed us that the issue was not in their jurisdiction and we ought to approach BMC again. If this tree falls on the road, which has a lot of Jogger's Park crowd, it could be a disaster," said Ashok Bhatia, the building chairman (mid-day has copies of letters residents wrote to the BMC). Residents claim BMC officials keep telling them to go back to the Fire Brigade or to its other departments.

The magnitude of the problem was further revealed last July, when Nandlal Lalwani, 82, a fifth floor resident, had a medical emergency and an ambulance had to be called. It could not enter the compound due to the tree.

"Ultimately we called for a smaller ambulance, whose driver had to struggle for half an hour to enter. This is when we realized that we could be facing a similar problem, if there was a fire or any other mishap. We are virtually going around in circles," said Parita Lalwani.

Anil Joseph, chairperson of the Perry Road Residents' Association, said that while nature lovers have planted over 170 trees in the area, when such a problem comes up, it is locals who have to deal with it.

Namdeo Munde, former in-charge of the Garden Department of H West ward, said the delay in action was because there was no response from the Fire Brigade confirming that their fire engine could not enter the premises due to the tilting tree.

When this reporter spoke to the new in-charge of the Garden Department, Yogesh Walunj, he was told to share photographs of the tree and copies of the correspondence. "We will certainly look into the matter and make all efforts to fix the problem at the earliest," Walunj said.

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