BENGALURU: With hundreds of trees falling over the last two weeks due to stormy weather and rains, experts have been pointing out that works on the roadside and laying of footpath concrete or slabs too close to the tree roots weaken them, causing the tree to succumb to downpour.
However, civic agencies do not seem to be taking enough measures for prevention of such damage. City-based NGO Save Green has now written to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), pointing out that roots of several trees have been cut for the purpose of laying pipelines in at least three locations in the city.
“Our volunteers found that roots of several trees along 100 feet road in Indiranagar, Old Airport Road near Command Hospital and Belathur in KR Puram were partially cut off to make way for digging up the road sides for laying of pipelines. This make the trees imbalanced and, over time, they will weaken and bend,” Hemant K, the founder of the organisation, said.
“We recently lost a lot of trees and people were injured due to weakening of otherwise healthy trees through digging. There needs to be space for the roots to spread and soil for them to grab onto. When we informed the engineers on site, they did not accept our pleas,” he said, adding that the sloping trees will be termed as unhealthy or the monsoon will be blamed should they fall.
The organisation addressed letters to BWSSB chairman Tushar Girinath, BBMP mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun and BBMP deputy conservator of forests, Cholarajappa. It states that BWSSB will be responsible if any trees fall, causing an accident, damage or death. Commenting on the issue, Cholarajappa said,” While they don’t need permission from the BBMP forest department for cutting of roots, they should not cause damage to trees coming in the way of their pipeline work. I will direct my staff to visit the mentioned spots and discuss the matter with the BWSSB officials during our meetings with them. Nothing can be done for the trees whose roots have already been cut.”
BWSSB chief engineer B C Gangadhar said, “We usually avoid touching the trees, but if we have to, we only touch 10 or 20 percent of the roots on one side. We will instruct our engineers to ensure this does not happen again, but we cannot do anything about the trees which have already been impacted by this.”