Two days since former Doordarshan anchor and yoga instructor Kanchan Nath died after a tree fell on her, locals at Chembur are still in a state of shock. Kanchan was out on a morning walk close to her housing society when a coconut tree snapped from its trunk and fell on her.
In another incident, a senior civic official confirmed that two people, including an elderly man, were injured after a tree fell on the taxi they were travelling in.
Calling Kanchan's death a 'freak accident' is not entirely accurate, as it could have been averted if the BMC had paid heed to pleas of locals to prune trees in the area. A local resident has brought forth evidence to support claims that he had written to the BMC to chop this particular tree as it was posing danger to locals.
Why didn't the BMC pay heed to the complaint? If the BMC decided the tree was "not a hazard", what parameters did it use to arrive at that conclusion?
If they have no answers, they should at least try to ensure such incidents are not repeated. While this case is being probed, the civic authorities should try to come up with a pan-city plan to tackle complaints about weak trees. Especially to ensure more people do not fall victim to collapsing trees or branches during the monsoon.
Experts have also pointed out that wanton concretisation of the city is weakening the roots of trees. This is another factor that must be looked into.
But what we need most is speedy action on citizens' complaints and a thorough inspection of trees in every neighbourhood to identify any threats. No one else should have to take the fall for the authorities' inaction.
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