At least one lakh of the estimated 4.5 lakh trees in the city have been uprooted by cyclone Vardah. According to estimates, around one-fourth of the 6.5-per cent tree cover in Chennai has vanished in the wake of the cyclone.
Even as thousands of workers are engaged in removing uprooted trees in the city, many residents continue to take the matter into their own hands, prompting the civic body to instruct residents to dump such waste only at 54 designated spots across the city.
Municipal Administration and Water Supply Secretary K. Phanindra Reddy said that the State government was planning to hold a brainstorming session next week to decide “our replantation strategy, duly considering the geography, urban setting etc.”
Civic body sources pointed to the lack of manpower in the Parks department and a delay in creating a separate Parks department for maintenance of the city’s green cover. The Finance department is said to have objected to the move.
“We had sent a proposal for the creation of a separate Parks department, which is yet to get the government nod. Only 14 Corporation employees are engaged in managing parks in the city. Each of the 200 wards should have at least one skilled representative of the Parks department to cope with any challenge to the green cover,” said the official.
According to official sources, rain tree constitutes the highest percentage of uprooted trees.
Shobha Menon of Nizhal said volunteers have to play a role in improving tree cover. “We are trying to restore trees that have fallen in the Kotturpuram Tree Park. As of now, we have set all the trees upright. Of the 500 trees in the park, 40 trees have fallen. On Sunday afternoon, volunteers will visit the area from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., adding nutrients and fungicide on the branches that have got cut.”
“Other community parks including Chitlapakam lake will also be restored. The citizens should step forward,” she said, adding, “It is so horrifying. What about all the birds and mammals that have made these these trees their home?”