GHMC persists with vulnerable indigenous trees

Reports suggest that the GHMC prioritises species like Peltophorum and Gulmohar for their quick growth and low maintenance.
A worker seen chopping off the branch of a fallen tree on Thursday
A worker seen chopping off the branch of a fallen tree on ThursdayExpress photo

HYDERABAD: Heavy rains on Tuesday wreaked havoc in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, resulting in the uprooting of over 200 trees, primarily Peltophorum pterocarpum (Konda Chinta) and Delonix regia (Royal Poinciana or Gulmohar trees).

The aftermath saw roads, houses, and cars blocked by fallen branches, causing traffic chaos and disrupting power lines. Similar occurrences have been witnessed from the past two years, as these species are vulnerable to strong winds and gales, ultimately undermining the purpose of tree plantation efforts in the city.

Despite this, the GHMC persists in planting these fragile species along roadsides, only to witness their downfall during future rains. The task of clearing fallen trees is toilsome for the Disaster Response Teams (DRF) of GHMC, especially considering the careful removal required to prevent damage to power lines.

Although plans existed to replace Peltophorum and Delonix regia with more resilient species like Tamarindus indica (tamarind), Azadirachta indica (neem), Pongamia and others under the previous Telangana government’s ‘Haritha Haram’ programme, these proposals were shelved by the civic body.

Reports suggest that the GHMC prioritises species like Peltophorum and Gulmohar for their quick growth and low maintenance. This ‘ease of maintenance’ has defeated the very purpose of tree plantation taken up by the civic body as a large number of trees are getting uprooted.

However, experts emphasise the urgency of shifting to indigenous tree varieties such as tamarind, neem, and peepal, which, despite slower growth, offer greater resilience to adverse weather conditions due to deeper roots and sturdier branches.

A senior forest official said that the state government should reassess its tree planting policy in Hyderabad. Native trees like tamarind, neem, and peepal are better suited for the region, possessing the strength to withstand strong winds and gales.

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