Rainfall half of last year’s but tree-fall complaints more
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The city may have received only half the rainfall as compared to last year and one-and-a-half months of monsoon still to go, but the number of complaints of trees falling and branches breaking off received by the civic body's disaster management cell is higher than those received during the entire monsoon last year.
From June 1 to August 20 this year, the cell received 1,189 complaints of trees falling and branches snapping as compared to 1,175 complaints from June to September, the monsoon months, in 2011. In the meantime, the island city and suburbs have received only half the rain during the corresponding period in 2011 as of now — Colaba recorded 791.7 mm of rain from June 1 to August 20 this year as against 1,989 mm in the same period last year and Santacruz 1,099.5 mm as against 2,222.6 mm last year.
Officials said the cell received 449 such complaints despite only around three good rain days in June this year, 605 in August despite only around six good rain days and 135 from August 1-20 despite only two good rain days. However, many of the complaints about trees falling were actually about branches snapping.
Experts were, however, divided on the issue with some blaming authorities for the high numbers. "If the number of such incidents is so huge with such less rain, it obviously points to negligence. Maintenance of trees is not looked into; concretisation of the base chokes a tree, increasing its chances of falling. Precautionary measures like identifying dead and dangerous trees for trimming before monsoon are not being carried out," said Niranjan Shetty, former member of the BMC's Tree Authority.
Others said the amount of rainfall is not connected with trees falling. "The number of rainy days or amount of rainfall is not connected with the falling of trees. A tree falls due to haphazard growth. Also, there has been no sudden climatic change this year; after last year's casualties, precautions have been taken. The number of incidents reported last year could be lesser," said Avinash Kubal, tree expert and deputy director of Maharashtra Nature Park.
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