Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-07-12 09:49 Every monsoon, we witness trees falling due to strong winds and causing fatal accidents, like in “Namma Bengaluru” in the recent past. As usual activists, government officials, and citizens make noise on the incident from their perspective either blaming the government agencies for the lapse or citizens for their carelessness. It is famously said that those who sweat more in peace will bleed less in war. In case of tree maintenance in urban areas, it can be easily said that we lack both the direction and efforts to ensure that avenue trees are taken care of throughout the year. Despite the existence of forest department and their cells in every urban local body, neither are there inspections to identify the problematic trees nor any effort to make sure their roots are strong. We see some reaction during a fatality, which is forgotten once the monsoon is over and apathy sets in till the next monsoon and next tragedy. Empty words and promises fly thick and fast with no or little action about the safety or health of the trees. It is highly desirable that the officials of forest department conduct routine checks to ensure that the trees are allowed sufficient breathing space at the root level by removing the concrete or cemented potions so that they do have the required strength to withstand the strong monsoon winds. It is imperative that tree pruning to be carried out in a very scientific manner to ensure the trees maintain their balance so that they don’t fall prey to strong winds. Is it not an irony that on one side the forest department plants trees and on the other side the ESCOMs all over the country cut trees in the most unscientific manner and at times in a barbaric fashion? If we need green cover in our urban areas, this cruel practice of tree chopping must cease. It is very surprising that our educated class fail to plant two trees in front of their houses, even though it is mandated by a law that house building plans are sanctioned only with the strict condition that the owner of the house should plant two trees at least. But the same owners do not even hesitate to cut a hapless healthy tree if it comes in way of his/her planning of the building. Our indifference towards tree cutting must be curbed and each and every one of us should start questioning the habit of indiscriminate tree cutting. Time is ripe to join hands with activists and strengthen their hands to save our neighbourhood. It is paramount that our mindset towards trees must change for better and greener surroundings. Author: Born on 3 Dec 1954 at Sringeri in Chikmagalur District, Karnataka Wg Cdr GB Athri (Retd) joined the Indian Air Force as a commissioned officer in 1976. He served the IAF with distinction, for over 25 years at various stations, all over India including the border posts. Currently he is an RTI activist who has been unearthing scams and corruption at high places.