Here’s the first casualty of Mumbai Marathon 2009 branches of a large number of trees between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Bandra Reclamation on the Marathon route are being chopped off to facilitate a clear aerial view of the event.
Superintendent of Garden V S Dande said: The trees are being pruned so that helicopters and photographers get a clear view of the race. Also,it was necessary to check all the trees on the tracks to avert any accidents.
Dande maintained that so far tree branches between CST and Churchgate Station have been cut. Plans are to trim trees up to Mahim and a few along the highway, he said.
However,residents living in near Fort said that trimming or pruning was a misnomer because large branches of more that six inch diametre had been chopped off from several trees.
Bijal Shah,a resident of Fountain said,Since last Tuesday,trees are being pruned ruthlessly in D N Road,Fountain and Churchgate areas. Near the Standard Chartered Bank building on D N Road,branches of a 70-year-old Peepal tree were cut on Saturday. Another Banyan tree outside Khadi Bhandar also faced the axe. These are old trees and may not be able to survive the cutting of such large branches.
U N Singh,a horticulturist and member of the tree authority said,When live branches more than three inches in diameter are trimmed,the tree receives a severe shock. Ideally,pruning should be done only when a tree needs to be shaped or given a balance so that it doesnt uproot during heavy rains or gust of wind. However,the tree authority doesnt have a guideline on pruning trees.
Singh said that branches are cut regularly and unsystematically. Most trees in the city are misshapen because branches are cut arbitrarily. We have been requesting the tree authority to form proper guidelines for sprucing of trees whereby an expert observes each tree to decide on the branches to be chopped and photographs are taken before and after the cutting.