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Updated: November 21, 2013 11:17 IST

Trees in path of new storm water drains in Coimbatore spared

Karthik Madhavan
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:A few residents are happy that the Corporation has not cut trees by altering the course of the storm water but a few others are unhappy that the alteration has eaten into road space. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan
The Hindu :A few residents are happy that the Corporation has not cut trees by altering the course of the storm water but a few others are unhappy that the alteration has eaten into road space. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

A total of 642 trees have been saved throughout the city

At a time when development is synonymous with tree cutting, the Coimbatore Corporation has attempted to swim against the tide and found considerable success as well. According to sources in the civic body, the Corporation had refrained from cutting 642 trees in constructing the storm water drain.

The civic body had bypassed the trees in constructing the drain in Bharathi Park, Peelamedu, Murugan Colony, Thanneerpandal, Maheswari Nagar, Nallampalayam, Om Sakthi Nagar, Ganpathy and on Krishnan Kovil Street, Nanje Gounden Street, Balamurugan Street, Thiagi Kumaran Street, Shastri Road and a few other areas.

This was done to avoid cutting the trees, the sources said and added that the civic body took the decision to bypass the trees after the Bharathi Park residents staged protests sometime in 2011.

The Corporation halted work for over two months. And, then, conceding to residents’ wishes, it started bypassing the trees to complete the work. The Corporation took the cue from there and continued to bypass trees wherever residents protested and the procedure was possible. This way, the civic body had not cut 642 trees, the sources reiterated.

The Bharathi Park residents, however, seemed to be unhappy. The Corporation had constructed the drain by bypassing the trees and eating into the road space causing consternation among residents, said Mohan Sankar, a resident.

Water stagnated in the drain as dust accumulated. The drain construction had defeated the very purpose for which the Corporation spent the Central Government’s money under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission scheme.

Echoing a similar opinion, R. Karpakam, a Ramnagar resident and member of Oli Awareness Movement, said that the area residents had to force the Corporation to not construct the drain on Malaviya Street and Ansari Street as the roads enjoyed a row trees.

If the Corporation’s objective was to manage rain water in the city, it should have begun by not extending the asphalt from one edge of the road to another, so as to allow percolation of water. The trees would have absorbed the water. But if stagnation continued, the Corporation could have constructed rain water harvesting structure at the stagnation points to solve the problem.

This would have been a simple, cost-effective solution than pumping crores of rupees into the storm water drain project. Notwithstanding any arguments, the Corporation’s action of not cutting trees should be appreciated, said R. Raveendran, Honorary Secretary, Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore.

At a time when people were cutting trees on flimsy pretexts like ‘falling leaves’ were ‘garbage’, the Corporation’s action would strengthen the case of those fighting to save and protect trees in the city. It should be wholeheartedly welcomed, he added.

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