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Post-FRI Report: Chandigarh Municipal Commissioner orders removal of concrete, pavers around trees

The FRI report had specified that serious root damage has been caused to the trees due to cemented tiles, road widening and cycle track construction in Chandigarh, making them more prone to fall during high-speed winds.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Published: June 11, 2019 10:29:17 am
Chandigarh, Chandigarh news, Environment, Tree pavers, Tree paver removing, Root damage, Green guidlines,Save trees, Indian Express news, latest news A tree fenced with paver blocks in Chandigarh. (Express photo)

MUNICIPAL COMMISSIONER K K Yadav on Monday ordered the horticulture wing to provide breathing space to all the trees in the city by removing pavers and concrete around them. He set the deadline of June 30 to complete this work.

A study by Forest Research Institute had recently pointed out that trees in the city were dying as their roots were getting damaged due to concretisation. This has been one of the major reasons for trees becoming vulnerable to high-speed winds.

The commissioner had convened a meeting of all executive engineers in the evening to discuss and implement Urban Green Guidelines, 2014. The engineers have been asked to strictly implement green guidelines, especially due to the digging by government or private purposes so that roots of trees should not be damaged or it doesn’t cause any kind of injury to the roots. Executive engineer of the horticulture wing Krishan Pal stated that thousands of trees have their area covered by pavers and they will now start removing them.

“An area of 6×6 foot has to be left around the trees. So we will begin the campaign from tomorrow. Even if it is a cycle track or anything, we are bound to free them of concretisation,” the executive engineer said.

The FRI report had specified that serious root damage has been caused to the trees due to cemented tiles, road widening and cycle track construction in Chandigarh, making them more prone to fall during high-speed winds. It was stated that the root damage has subjected the trees to high stress, thereby making them more prone to fall during high-speed winds and storms during rainy season.

At the meeting, the commissioner also said that investing in green spaces can help transform the city into more sustainable, resilient, healthy, equitable and pleasant place to live in. “Chandigarh can be a great place to live but many urban developments cause environmental havoc, ultimately leading to problems such as high temperatures, flooding and air pollution. The cost for citizens is deteriorating well-being,” he said.

The engineers have also been directed to follow urban green guidelines for strengthening urban greens, especially by planting right kinds of trees at right locations or places. He said that while selecting tree species, the specified criteria would be taken into account.

The commissioner said that during plantation of trees along roads avenue planting, group planting, mixed planting and informal planting of species having a long life should be preferred. Keeping in view the spacing of avenue trees and type of trees, all the government institutions and private organisations will have to consult horticulture division, MC. He also instructed the horticulture wing to plant saplings on roadsides.

Also, it said that aerobic composting in all the green belts and parks of city should be done. By June, 2020 all horticulture waste will be made compost through scientific method and aerobic composting. Aerobic composting is decomposition of organic matter using microorganisms that require oxygen.

What the FRI report stated

High human activities and tiling pavements lead to soil compaction, root asphyxiation and serious root injuries. Ideally below the whole circumference of the canopy, there should not be any human activity and civil work. The pipes and civil works below the tree cut main roots anchoring the tree. Similarly, the road widening and cycling track construction destabilised the tree as major roots on which the trees relie for anchorage, nutrition and uptake/ascent of sap are cut.

Trees have died on account of root asphyxiation and root damage has been caused by tiling, concreting, road construction and slip roads. Cemented tiles within tree canopy circumference should be removed so that roots get proper aeration and moisture for growth.

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