BENGALURU: With Bengaluru seeing 373 per cent excess rainfall in September, potholes, flooded streets and traffic haven't been the only issues residents have had to deal with. Like every year, trees have come crashing down bringing down power lines and causing loss of life and property. This could be avoided with proper maintenance through the year, but residents say officials are painfully slow to respond to such requests.
Minakshi Prabhu, member of HAL 2nd stage RWA, says that pruning of trees in her area is a tedious process. Despite residents writing several complaint letters to the BBMP forest department, nothing has been done yet.
Vishwanath Prabhu, member of HAL 2nd Stage RWA, has had a similar experience: "I wrote to the BBMP Forest Department over two months back, but haven't got a response yet. Trees haven't fallen, but their branches need to be trimmed. We have to run pillar to post to get this done".
After disaster strikes, there is quick response. Gopal Rao of the Malleswaram RWA says, "Last week, two trees fell in my area, and the officials were prompt in clearing that up, but pruning does not happen. Only when a tree is in really bad condition - if it's old or about to fall - do we see officials act."
Chithra Venkatesh, secretary, Kumara Park West RWA, says that while pruning is done, clearing of the cut branches and leaves isn't. "They leave it lying on the road and it's very hard to get someone to take it off the streets," she says.
In Halasuru, residents are scared to drive cars through tree-lined roads. Purushotam Venkatesan, president of Halasuru Lake RWA, says, “We have been calling the Assistant Executive Engineer of the BBMP, but haven't got a response.”
Diana Bharucha of HAL 3rd Stage RWA says that while they have managed to get the trees in the area pruned, getting hold of the officials to do it is very hard. There are still a number of trees in the area that need to be trimmed, she says. Adding to this is Jayashree from the HAL 3rd Stage Taxpayers and Residents Association, who says, “Earlier, there was no provision on the Forest Department's website to just trim branches, there was only an option to chop trees down. But now they do and we've gotten the process started. We are hoping work will happen in 2-3 days time.”