Tangedco says trees were only trimmed to prevent electrocution during rains

Residents of East Tambaram are up in arms against the State electricity board that has chopped off branches and pruned some trees in the neighbourhood.

According to an official of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco), the trees were trimmed as a precautionary measure against tripping of power or snapping of live wire during heavy rains and winds.

However, residents of Sundaram Colony in East Tambaram said nearly 60 trees that provided shade and bore fruits were pruned and cut off unnecessarily. S. Rajan, an autorickshaw driver, said Tangedco could have undertaken the exercise in coordination with civic groups, to avoid indiscriminate pruning, if it was necessary in the first place.

He said more than a decade ago, the State forest department had handed over saplings of avenue trees such as ‘pungan’ and gulmohar, among others, which the residents took care to water and nurture.

“Tangedco staff descended upon our neighbourhood and chopped off branches of full-grown trees. It is unlikely they will regain their size,” said Mr. Rajan.

Tangedco officials said the Tamil months of Aani and Aadi would witness strong winds, ahead of monsoon. As part of safety measures, they would only trim branches that were too close to low- and high-tension overhead power cables.

No tree had been uprooted or axed in the East Tambaram neighbourhood, an official said. Lineman and other workers would be instructed to take utmost care and not resort to indiscriminate trimming, the official said.

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