Avenue trees fall victim to road-widening

CHENNAI, MAY 20. The rain accompanying winds again brought down a couple of trees in the city, raising safety concerns among residents. Many of the avenue trees are `victims' of road- widening.

In one instance, a tree on second main road, Anna Nagar, came down near a crowded restaurant narrowly missing passing vehicles. Traffic was disrupted for about half-an-hour and vehicles were seen taking the `wrong side' to cover the stretch.

``I was standing in front of the hotel on second main road as it was drizzling. It happened as if in a slow motion. The tree came down and nearly hit a motorist,'' said a bystander.

A similar incident was reported from Vepery a couple of days ago, after city experienced mild winds. Some residents in Besant Nagar and Anna Nagar point out that many of the trees were victims of the Corporation's road-widening work.

While the trees were left alone, the patch all around was black- topped, leaving no gap for water to seep in. In some instances, protruding roots were cut to ensure uniformity of surface, they said.

A couple of residents said the Corporation should undertake a study to find out the stability of the avenue trees. Those found to be weak should be strengthened, and, if this is not possible, the trees should be chopped down and fresh saplings planted.

It was only a couple of days ago, the wind pattern over the city and neighbouring areas changed following a cyclonic circulation near eastern Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh. This brought mild to strong winds to the city and suburbs. Though the wind and the accompanying rain caused some damage, it did not bring cheer to the water-starved residents. The catchment areas of the city reservoirs did not receive enough rains today to make a difference in the city reservoir levels.

While the Poondi and the Red Hills reservoirs have 240 mcft. and 700 mcft. respectively, Cholavaram and Chembarambakkam lakes hardly have any water left for pumping into the city's supply system.

The water here is even lesser than the dead storage levels. The combined current storage was only 31 per cent of the Metrowater's requirement of 3000 mcft.

Last year this time, the storage was 1,685 mcft, the Metrowater sources said.