Dozens of trees lining the Tank Bund road have been hacked away, poisoned and chopped off to make way for park infrastructure in the area over the past few months.
On Sunday, when photogs trooped to click the busy thoroughfare that was turned into pedestrian promenade for five hours, they discovered something amiss.
The Christmas tree beside Abul Hasan Tanashah’s statue where bird-seed sellers sit had completely dried up and became a perch for pigeons which occupied every branch and nook.
Another tree of the same species (araucaria heterophylla) between Gurram Jashuva and Siddhendra Yogi statue which had its top portion hacked away in May and survived with fresh shoots has also dried up.
All the trees that have dried up showed deep cuts on the trunks.
The method of killing trees is well known and has been used by a big fashion label to kill trees in front of its outlet in Mumbai in 2018.
“The deep cuts are on the superficial bark of the tree. The tree will not die like that. They need to use a chemical to kill the tree,” said E. Sujatha, who teaches molecular plant physiology and stress physiology in Osmania University.
Asked about the tree stumps, a Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation staffer supervising the site on Saturday said, “We have not cut any trees. Some of the old, dead trees have been removed.”
Satellite imagery between 2019 and May 2021 shows huge gaps in tree canopy congruent with the tree stumps found on the ground.
Incidentally, last year, Hyderabad had created a record of sorts with 2,40,08,742 saplings being planted and has been named ‘Tree City of the World’, which is an initiative of UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.