Written by Manik Berry
Trees of Sector 48 are in trouble. While several trees have died either due to irregular paving around them or termite infestation, many others are on the last limb. Drive on the main road of the sector, and you will see more than 30 trees infested with termite.
Rahul Mahajan, an environmentalist, blamed the termite menace on the lackadaisical administration. “The trees need to be treated with herbicides or chemicals to get rid of termites but no one cares,’’ he said.
Dr Arun Bansal, another environmentalist, added that termite only feeds on dead wood, which raises concerns about the care given to the green cover of Chandigarh. Mahajan also said that many of the trees that are now termite infested, are less than a decade old, which is a clear indication of lack of chemical treatment.
The use of pavers around the trees is also irregular at certain places. There needs to be a gap of 3×3 feet between the pavers and the tree, so that there is room for it to breathe and expand its roots. Irregularities can be spotted in following this rule around the roundabout of Sector 48. Not only this, the pavers and tree guards that were removed earlier can be seen lying next to the trees. In case of tree guards, one of them was outgrown by the tree and poses as a potential threat to the passers-by.
Near a bus stand and a public park in Sector 48, certain trees have uprooted the tiling done around them. The notable thing here is that no room was left for the trees to breathe. Going towards the outer road, there are irregular gaps between trees. At places where trees should be at every 10 to 15 feet, there are gaps of more than 20 feet. There are also a number of trees on the road adjacent to the railway line, which do not have any buffer to prevent them from falling on the road. There are also some dead and termite infested trees that can be seen bending over the road as well.
Rampant growth of weeds and grass between the paving poses another problem. The pavers here have proved unsuccessful in stopping the growth of wild grass. At certain areas like the road connecting Sector 48 to the main road, there are four to five dead trees which run the risk of getting uprooted in case of a storm.
In the past too, there have been reports of people getting gravely injured or dying because of dead trees falling during storms.
Trees fit for the city
Experts say most of the dead trees in the sector are Chakrasiya, a species not suitable for Chandigarh weather conditions but planted because it greens quickly. The trees suitable for Chandigarh include indigenous trees such as badd, peepal, pilkhan, neem and palash, which have medicinal properties and invite birds as well.