Corporation in a spot over axing trees that pose threat


Shortage of workers, demand for huge money among many hurdles

With the demand for axing ‘dangerously positioned’ trees growing in view of the monsoon season, the civic authorities of Kochi are finding it difficult to handle the situation.

Shortage of wood cutters, high rates quoted by labourers, opposition from green groups and the cumbersome procedure formalities that have to be followed for cutting trees have put the civic body in a spot. It’s easier to cut down a tree that was uprooted than clearing the ones that are posing risk to the life and property of the city residents, say civic officials.

12 requests cleared

Since the onset of the monsoon, the Health Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation has cleared 12 requests on applications it has received. The Health Inspectors of the various Health Circles of the Kochi Corporation have been instructed to act immediately on the applications considering the risk involved, said V.K. Minimol, chairperson of the committee.

Earlier, some corporation councillors had protested against the complacency of the civic authorities in clearing the request for removing dangerously positioned trees from walkways and public places and pruning the low-lying branches.

The coordination among the Kerala State Electricity Board, Kochi Corporation and the workers for axing trees is the biggest hurdle faced by the civic authorities. In case of trees located near electric lines, the pruning and axing works can be initiated only after switching off the power lines. In some other cases, when all agencies come together, there will be opposition from some local groups, forcing the authorities to postpone the decision. If the coordination fails, it would require weeks together for rearranging the works, said Ms. Minimol.

Sometimes, the workers demand huge money for pruning trees. The spending of money, as demanded by the workers, will eventually put the officials concerned in trouble. The auditors will object to such spending. No official will be willing to own up the financial burden of such jobs. Luckily, no accidents have taken place in Kochi so far, she said.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:48:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/Corporation-in-a-spot-over-axing-trees-that-pose-threat/article14425808.ece

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