The move of the traffic police to fell trees and trim the branches of some huge trees in different locations in the city had come in for a sharp criticism from environment activist groups.

While the police maintained that they decided in larger public interest, as there were hardships faced by motorists, eco-conscious persons, however, raised eye-brows over the claims of the custodians of law.

Traffic blocked

For the last three days, traffic police personnel had been blocking traffic during peak hours near West Veli Street, Alagarkoil Road, Goripalayam, T.M. Court, Periyar bus stand among other pockets.

Some of the workers engaged in the job told The Hindu that they were paid Rs.300 per day and wherever the police officials directed them, the trees were either felled or the branches protruding were trimmed, they said.

Accident rates down

Even as the traffic police maintained that the accident rates in the city had fallen this year when compared with previous two years, the question that had risen among many vehicle users is that why did then the police resort to felling trees suddenly.

According to the data available with the traffic police department, in 2007, out of 102 cases booked, 105 deaths were reported.

In 2008, the number of cases booked stood at 140 while the number of death was 143. In 2009, till October 30, the number of cases booked was 102 and the number of death stood at 103.

A retired police officer said that the damage caused to the trees would reflect only during the summer.

A huge trunk near Ambedkar Statue on the Alagarkoil Road, on the New Natham Road (near the Superintendent of Police residence) and on the West Veli Street were some of the big trees, which were badly damaged in the operation, eco friendly people complained.

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