By Uday Krishna
Hyderabad was once a very green city with thousands of large trees lined up along our roads. But in the last 10 to 15 years the loss of urban greenery has been drastic. Road widening, flyovers, underpasses, Metro Rail, all have completely destroyed the existing green cover so much that today we hardly see any tree line along the roads.
While the trees that fall and block the roads do not have many chances of revival (due to the urgency in clearing up the way for our traffic) hundreds of other trees that fall are also chopped up immediately. We at Vata Foundation has been requesting GHMC to consider reviving these trees as their survival normally isn’t an issue.
Reviving fallen trees:
Vata has gone to great lengths to revive fallen trees. We see this as a perfect way to spread awareness. Sample this:
• Nagarkurnool: During a pre-monsoon thunder shower a Junglee Jilebi tree had fallen down in a Government School in Nagarkurnool. The tree did not dry up since some roots were still in the ground (the case with almost all fallen trees. The Principal had protected the tree from being chopped off as this was the only useful tree on the campus. After a wait of 2 months, she had read about us in the newspapers and called us requesting to help revive the tree. We gladly obliged and revived the tree in front of 400 kids.
• Goa Banyan: A 100+ yr old Banyan had fallen during the 2020 monsoon showers in Arambol, a remote corner of Goa. The location was very remote and wasn’t accessible for any heavy equipment. We were asked to help revive this tree that too during Covid times. Uday went along with a team of heavy equipment handlers and revived banyan using only a 200 Poclain. It took 2 days and also resulted in Uday becoming infected with Covid during that trip. However, the positive side is that the news spread across the globe and the awareness went along!!
Trees in Hyderabad fall for many reasons apart from monsoon
• Uneven trimming by Electrical Department is one main reason why trees fall. Trees lose balance due to a lack of planning in pruning.
• Traffic also sometimes ends up destabilizing trees. The branches coming onto the road are trimmed while the opposite side branches are left intact (KPHB 4 trees Case). This results in the trees falling down.
We at Vata Foundation have been offering our services free of cost to GHMC to help revive fallen trees, but seldom do we get the necessary permissions. We do not have any idea as to why simple permissions can’t be issued to save fully grown trees. One only wonders why this is so. Could it be because of?
• Meeting THH Targets? More opportunity to plant saplings the better it is?
• Fully grown trees don’t need any budget. Whereas a sapling needs a tree guard, watering, and fertilizer.
A sapling needs a budget whereas the fully grown tree needs no budget. Is that the reason why trees that can be saved, are quickly chopped off?
Uday Krishna is the founder of Vata Foundation