Fallen/Cut Trees & Branches due to Heavy Rains Left to Rot by Roadside Pose Risks to Lives
Mangaluru: The after-effects of the recent spell of heavy rain continue to haunt Mangalureans. Uprooted trees and fallen branches lying uncleared for many days are resulting in increased and causing health hazards and risks to the lives of pedestrians and motorists. Even though the City is on a clearance drive, the work is at a slow pace. Residents across the city complain that breeding has increased due to uncleared tree and leaf litter.
A senior citizen on Jail Road near the District prison after a huge tree was cut and left there for days said that colonies of mosquitoes near her home force her to keep the doors and windows shut always. “A huge tree was cut a few days ago since it was posing a danger located near my house and it hasn’t been cleared for over a week. Mosquitoes and other insects have made it their breeding spot. I’m not able to keep my doors open for more than five minutes,” she rued.
Another city resident Charles Fernandes said many branches of trees have fallen near his house and have not been cleared out. “The branches have made it difficult for walkers to move around. Besides mosquito breeding, there are mosquitoes and other small insects. One cannot even sit in the park peacefully for more than a few minutes before mosquitoes start biting. The Mangaluru City Corporation should immediately clean up the mess before diseases like Dengue and Malaria spreads” he said.
When contacted an official at MCC said, “Mosquitoes breed only if there is stagnant water and not if a tree has fallen. If a drainage pipe is leaking near an area where a fallen tree lies, there are chances of mosquitoes breeding. But when leaves dry up, they become home for snakes, rodents and other small insects.” According to residents, unattended leaf litter turns wet waste, drawing mosquitoes, insects and rodents.
Yes, the rains that wreaked havoc in Mangaluru a week back have left in their wake piles of wooden logs and debris from fallen trees creating a traffic hazard. Quite a few trees were fallen or branches cut to avoid further damage. But, the broken branches have not been cleared yet. With the trees that had fallen yet to be disposed of, wooden logs and branches are still on the roadsides, obstructing vehicle movement and giving nightmares to pedestrians.
Near Nehru Maidan, Jail Road, and Bikkaranakatta among other places stocked woods and branches on the pedestrian path are creating a nuisance and inconveniences to pedestrians and motorists. “Because of a lack of workers, the tree clearance operation has been delayed,” said an MCC staff member. What an excuse! Even though many were lucky enough to escape from falling trees during the heavy rainfall a few days ago, still, many decades-old trees are lurking all over the city as many and they are sagging dangerously, posing a threat to road users.
In the past, Mangaluru city has witnessed several incidents of tree fall (following pre-monsoon showers) wherein properties, including vehicles, were damaged. Luckily, there has been no casualty. But it looks like the authorities concerned are waiting for more tragedies to happen to take necessary measures. Some of the trees and their branches in many parts of the City are either hanging precariously or have dried up. They may prove dangerous if left unattended.
An official attached to MCC claimed that there is no direction to regularly check/ prune/ remove old trees. If they receive any complaints from the public in this regard, steps will be taken in consultation with the forest department or officers of the respective MCC zonal offices. Sources claim that both civic and forest officials are shirking responsibility despite damage to lives and properties. “MCC staff won’t take up pruning work on their own until they receive complaints. Forest officials say they have permitted the civic agency to remove branches or avenue trees, including those in parks if they are posing a threat.
Instead of taking precautions, the civic authorities are only attending to complaints/ incidents. Their apathy could prove costly to road users, including tourists,” sources added.