Q : There have been two deaths on account of tree collapses this monsoon. What is the BMC's plan to deal with the problem?
One of the trees was on private premises and the other was in a public space. Only this year we initiated the facility where housing societies can approach us for trimming of trees on their premises and get the job done for a fee. It's a new initiative and has yet to catch up.
Q : Is there awareness about the dangerous consequences of not trimming trees in time? Then what's stopping societies from getting this done?
As I said, the initiative has just started. Many societies may not be able to afford the charges. So they opt for other alternatives to trim the trees which may not be good enough.
Q : In that case, what can the BMC do to ensure that there are fewer accidents due to tree collapses, especially on private premises?
Our staff have started inspections on private premises too. Notices will be issued to societies and institutions where trees have not been maintained properly. We will impose penalties on contractors who have not carried out proper trimming even after receiving the work orders. Tree officers will keep an eye on the road works in progress that may damage trees.
Q : According to information from the BMC's disaster management unit there have been more than 1,000 tree falls this monsoon, but the garden department lists just 296 tree collapses and 288 cases of broken branches. Why the difference?
Our officers segregate the cases of tree collapses and branches. The disaster management staff compile consolidated figures and therefore it appears to be more. We are also transplanting trees that have collapsed, wherever it is possible.