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Green activists see red over tree ‘hacking’ on Ballygunge Circular Road

Kolkata Municipal Corporation horticulturist denies environmentalists’ allegation, terms it 'pruning'

Debraj Mitra | Published 21.04.22, 07:11 AM
A pruned tree reduced to a near-skeletal state on Ballygunge Circular Road on Wednesday.

A pruned tree reduced to a near-skeletal state on Ballygunge Circular Road on Wednesday.

Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Several trees on Ballygunge Circular Road in south Kolkata have been hacked randomly in the name of pruning, alleged environment activists.

An horticulturist with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation denied the allegations. He said the trees were pruned because they were obstructing streetlights.

On Wednesday afternoon, The Telegraph found a series of trees along the pavement of Ballygunge Circular Road, near its intersection with Ballygunge Phari, in almost skeletal state.

The hacked branches and foliage lay on the pavement and the road, limiting pedestrian access and occasionally slowing the traffic down.

Bonani Kakkar, founder of PUBLIC (People United for Better Living in Calcutta), an NGO, alleged the trees were “hacked”. She has written to the municipal commissioner and the mayor in this regard. “Please note that trees have been left with no foliage whatsoever and the green litter has been dumped on the pavement...” she has written.

The practice of pruning branches unevenly has been blamed for trees getting uprooted during storms.

The civic body periodically carries out trimming of trees. However, many trees got uprooted in the last two years after Cyclone Amphan (in May 2020) apparently weakened their roots.

A senior horticulturist with the KMC said the trees were pruned because they had tilted towards streetlights. “They were obstructing the lights,” he said, denying allegations of improper pruning.

This newspaper sent the pictures of the trees on Ballygunge Circular Road to naturalist Arjan Basu Roy. “There are high chances of some of these trees getting uprooted during a storm,” he said.

Last updated on 21.04.22, 07:11 AM
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