CHENNAI: Only a few days before a woman was killed after a tree fell on her moving car in KK Nagar, Tamil Nadu Local Bodies Ombudsman had instructed the Greater Chennai Corporation to act against a dangerous tree and warned lackadaisical officials who fail to act to ensure safety of the public. The tragic incident occurred on Friday.
While hearing a complaint from residents about a dangerous tree in Tondiarpet, Ombudsman M Malik Feroze Khan instructed the Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi to warn the officials who fail to act on safety measures and issue a circular regarding the issue.
Complainants B Vijayakumar and M Anbarasan approached the Ombudsman seeking to remove a branch of a tree that fell on a house in Durgadevi Nagar. They also alleged that the officials fail to remove the branch despite repeated complaints. There is a anganwadi center nearby the house. Complainants also requested to remove other branches of the tree that are in weaker condition.
In his order dated June 7, the Ombudsman observed that the lives will be lost if the dangerous branches fall on the Anganwadi center and recommended disciplinary action against the concerned officials for delaying the precautionary measure. "Officials, who are indifferent in such safety issues should be warned and issue a circular, " he directed the civic body.
Despite the direction of the Ombudsman, the civic body did not issue any circular about the dangerous trees until the KK Nagar incident occurred. After the incident, a circular has been issued directing the zonal level officials to ensure precautionary measures to prevent tree falling incidents.
The circular pointed out several trees on the roads, streets, play grounds and other civic body properties are in dangerous condition.
"Moreover the roots of the urban trees could not spread and roots are growing under the roads. This affects construction of storm water drains. Due to the construction of drains, trees in many places are in weaker state. So, branches should be pruned to reduce mass of the trees and trunks should be strengthened by tying stay ropes, " the circular said.
The circular also directed the officials to take periodic measures to remove dangerous trees and branches across the city. Even after the Friday incident, trees continue to fall on roads in many places, including KK Nagar.