Looking at the root cause

Looking at the root cause

Raining concerns

Looking at the root cause

It’s been raining almost everyday and road users in the city are exposed to hazardous situations. Besides potholes, they also have to watch out for trees and small branches suddenly falling on them.

Road users point out that the authorities don’t seem to have a scientific understanding and precise planning when it comes to the pruning and chopping of trees. It is the mindless cutting down of trees and pruning of branches, without an understanding of how it should be done, that leads to freak accidents due to trees falling on the road, point out many.

Anjana Mani, a teacher, says she fears treading the roads whenever it is raining. “The winds are so gusty and strong that I am scared to step out when it is raining. I travel by auto but you never know when a tree branch could fall and block your path or worse still, fall on you. Even the small pieces of wood splintered across the road could puncture the tyre. It is unthinkable to travel on Bengaluru roads when it rains,” she says.

Two-wheeler riders are the worst affected during a downpour. Anil Giri Raju, a cost accountant, says that he never risks riding on Indiranagar 100 Feet Road and roads in and around M S Ramaiah Hospital, when it rains. “These roads have huge tree canopies on either side but you can never judge when a branch will fall on you. Even the smallest of tree branches falling on a rider could lead to a fatal accident. A rider can easily lose his balance or concentration in such situations,” reasons Anil. “There is no inspection of old trees in the city. Trees and branches are cut just to make way for development. Even the trees that are cut in the name of road widening projects are dumped on the roadside causing more inconvenience to commuters, especially two-wheeler riders, because one can’t really see the road,” he adds.

      There are people like Vivekananda H R, a chartered accountant, who points out that early planning and a proper evaluation of the weak trees in the city will not only save the cutting down of trees but also help channelise development in a way that it doesn’t disturb the ecological balance. Vivekananda says that there are two issues that people face whenever it rains — tree branches falling and potholes that are filled with water. “You often see the staff of BESCOM hurriedly cutting the topmost branches of trees, to prevent them from touching the wires but they don’t realise that they are destroying the balance of the tree. Most of the times, they simply chop the tree and leave the branches lying on the road which is worse,” he says. He also points out that during rains, potholes and open manholes filled with water are potential death traps for any road user.

No doubt, the road widening projects have led to the senseless felling of trees and this has also weakened the roots of the existing trees. Deepti Fredrick, a student, feels environmental conservation and urbanisation must go hand in hand.

She says that she can’t understand the logic behind cutting down so many trees just to widen roads.

“Basically, we are felling down these glorious giants to give way to more cars and thus, more pollution. We are racing towards development but not sparing a thought about conserving the environment for posterity,” she says.

She also wonders why branches fall and trees are uprooted every time it rains in Bengaluru and yet the authorities don’t seem to have learnt lessons from it. “We hear of how people meet tragic ends because of branches falling on them or how an entire tree comes crashing down. If you harm nature, it will come back to you. Proper urban planning to save our trees is the need of the hour,” feels Deepti.