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The forgotten sentinels of the city

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DWINDLING COVER: Regular trimming to prevent hindrance to electric wires has left trees in the city bereft of foliage.
DWINDLING COVER: Regular trimming to prevent hindrance to electric wires has left trees in the city bereft of foliage.

Staff Reporter

As development picks up, the number of dense trees is on a rapid decline

HYDERABAD: They once stood tall and green, spreading cheer and happiness around. That is how one will describe the big trees in Hyderabad and Secunderabad that have become a forgotten story now. As development activities are picking up in and around the twin cities, the number of dense trees is seeing a rapid decline. They are not allowed to grow beyond a certain height in the city limits, which is leading to a gradual decline in the density of the tree cover.

While the work for laying underground power cables is going on at a snail's pace, whatever little was left of the `good oldies' is being chopped off to prevent hindrance with the overhead electric wires. Though officials in the Central Power Distribution Company Limited (CPDCL) claim that they only "trim" the branches touching the wires, environmentalists think otherwise.

Chief General Manager, Metro Zone, Victoria said "We can't keep our customers in the dark." However, P. Anuradha Reddy, president, Society for Preservation of Environment and Quality of Life (SPEQL) said, "The gangs that cut the branches have no background in horticulture. The trees are not trimmed but hacked." "There are claims being made about lakhs of new saplings being planted as substitutes for older ones. However, there is no guarantee about how many are actually planted and how long they will survive," she added.

Transplanting trees

While there seems to be no end to the debate on the need for development at the cost of natural resources, perhaps a thought to reach a mean is becoming important. Transplanting of big trees to make way for development is one such option. Maybe, for the sake of age-old botanical history, going a little out of the way should be considered.

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