Green activists and opposition leaders have alleged that with the BMC giving out trimming contracts to desilting and transport companies that have no scientific expertise in the matter, this monsoon too the city will lose hundreds of trees.
Falling trees pose a serious threat to the lives of pedestrians. Every year, the BMC spends close to Rs 60 crore on trimming of trees.
This April, the BMC issued notices that if housing societies fail to get their trees trimmed before the rains and there is a mishap due to a branch or tree fall, then they will be held responsible for it.
“We have taken up work on priority for dangerous trees. Trimming work of dangerous trees is almost 100% complete. We have finished around 50% work for regular trees.
This year, we also conducted workshops for all our staff by noted arborists for scientific tree trimming. We had also invited horticulturists of private companies who manage trees inside big private estates in the city. The rest of the trimming work will be complete before the rains,” said Jitendra Pardeshi, the BMC’s garden superintendent. Pardeshi said around 80% of private societies that were issued notices had trimmed the trees inside their premises.
BMC officials said there are 15. 5 lakh trees on private premises across Mumbai while the rest are in public spaces. Some big societies have more than 100 trees that need regular trimming. Over the past three years, the BMC has reported around 18,000 tree and branch fall incidents.
Green activists have alleged in the name of trimming, entire trees are hacked in an unscientific manner.
The BJP alleged with no arborist or tree expert, these trimmers turn into hackers. BJP leader Vinod Mishra said it must be made mandatory for all trimming agencies to have an arborist on board. “We will soon see if the BMC’s claims stand or fall in the rains just like hundreds of trees every year.
All tree-trimming contractors appointed are either transport companies or desilting contractors who have been tasked with making the city safe from falling trees. Not a single one has any arborist on board who can scientifically identify weak branches and dead trees. Botanists are only on paper,” Mishra said.