The death of a 43-year-old person when a tree collapsed on the autorickshaw he was driving near Five Lights Circle during the rains lashing the city on Thursday evening has brought the roadside trees endangering public safety under sharp focus.
The tree fell on the autorickshaw of Ejaz Ahmed when he was proceeding from St. Philomena’s Church towards Five Lights Circle with a passenger. The passenger, however, had a miraculous escape as the tree fell on the front portion of the vehicle.
Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Additional Commissioner M.J .Roopa told The Hindu that the tree was among those identified by the civic body for uprooting by the Forest Department. “It is a very unfortunate incident”, she said while adding that the matter was brought to the notice of Deputy Commissioner Bagadi Gautham, who has approved sanction of a compensation to the family of the deceased from the Calamity Relief Fund.
A cheque of ₹5 lakh was presented to the family of Ejaz Ahmed at his residence in Haleem Nagar, Bannimantap, on Friday. The MCC will also consider providing source of livelihood to the family of the deceased, Ms. Roopa said.
The MCC, meanwhile, has drawn up an action plan to prune the branches of the trees posing a threat to public safety.
About 3,000 trees have been identified in Mysuru by the Horticulture Department of MCC for pruning and the list has been submitted to the Forest Department. Though the MCC can prune trees to the extent of 3 feet, the civic body is not empowered to either cut the trunk, large branches or uproot the trees. The Forest Department has been asked to take necessary action with regard to the trees that required to be uprooted to protect the public from danger.
Over the next three days, the MCC will deploy enough personnel, vehicles and equipment to prune the trees posing a threat to public safety. “We have discussed with area corporators and drawn up a list of the trees that require to be pruned. We will carry out the exercise over the next two to three days”, she said.
Also, action will be taken to prevent rainwater flooding low lying areas by clearing the blockages, she said.
Meanwhile, SDPI leader Abdul Majeed alleged that there was delay in the rescue team comprising police and Fire and Emergency Services personnel reaching the accident spot on Thursday night. Apart from seeking action against the rescue team personnel, Mr. Majeed has urged the MCC to immediately take up work on pruning or removing the trees or branches that were posing a threat to public safety.