Vasant Kunj residents have complained that neglect of overgrown trees in their area and absence of regular pruning has endangered the lives and properties of the resident here.
Over the last three days, uprooted trees have damaged more than five cars in Pockets 3 and 4 of Sector D.
The job of pruning of trees across the city is done by the civic bodies, but lately this issue has become the bone of contention between the civic body in-charge of the area and the city forest department officials, with the fight now adversely affecting the residents here.
“Some of the trees here are not pruned regularly. So after a period, in the absence of any pruning, they become overgrown to the extent that they cannot hold their weight. And in case of rain, or even slight wind, they get uprooted damaging property and posing a threat to life,” said T.R. Ranga, a resident of Vasant Kunj whose car got damaged when a tree fell on his vehicle during the heavy rain that the city experienced this past week.
Mr. Ranga argued that the trees which have not been pruned pose a danger to life as well because they are located in densely populated residential areas.
“Some times we ask the drivers to stay in the car. Thank god that there was nobody in the car when the tree fell,” said Mr. Ranga, who is the ex-president of D3-D4 Vasant Kunj Residents’ Welfare Association .
Arguing that the problem of dangerous and overgrown trees was being faced by almost all RWAs in the vicinity, Mr. Ranga, a resident of the area since 1989, said despite several complains to officials from the forest department and the department of horticulture in the civic body no remedial measures have been put in place. The damage done to Mr. Ranga’s car was almost worth Rs. 50,000 .
Mr. T. R. Taneja, president of the RWA Vasant Kunj, said three trees fell in the area recently, but many more of them pose potential threat to the residents’ life and property because they have overgrown.
“There are more than 15 trees in our RWA alone which can fall any time, especially during the monsoon. We have been informing the forest department officials as well as the horticulture department but nobody is concerned,” he added.
Asked why pruning was not done for several months, officials from the horticulture department of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation blamed the forest department for being very strict in allowing pruning.
“We do not have many choices, but to be guided by the forest department directives. As per the law for any work of cutting or pruning, whether heavy or light, we need a go-ahead from the forest department. But the forest department takes a very long time in giving us permission to prune,” said an SDMC official.
He argued the problem was that the law makes no distinction between heavy and light pruning.
“So the civic agencies, if they are carrying out any such work without informing forest department, are in violation of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994,” he added.
Forest department officials, however, rejected the “allegations” of delay from the civic body and blamed the inefficiency of the civic bodies.
“If trees become overgrown to the extent of posing a danger to life or property, they can certainly be pruned,” a forest department official said.