Carmel Convent tree collapse: Fresh survey finds 72 dead, dry trees at Chandigarh schools - Hindustan Times
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Carmel Convent tree collapse: Fresh survey finds 72 dead, dry trees at Chandigarh schools

By, Chandigarh
Jul 19, 2022 02:09 AM IST

Chandigarh adviser has given the civic body, and UT engineering and forest departments a week to cut these trees down

As many as 72 dead and dry trees need felling, as identified through a fresh survey of 204 schools in Chandigarh.

Since the tree collapse at Carmel Convent on July 8, the UT administration has already removed two heritage trees at Vatika School, Sector 19 (in picture), and Government Nursery, Sector 23. (HT Photo)
Since the tree collapse at Carmel Convent on July 8, the UT administration has already removed two heritage trees at Vatika School, Sector 19 (in picture), and Government Nursery, Sector 23. (HT Photo)

UT adviser Dharam Pal on Monday gave to the municipal corporation, and UT engineering and forest departments a week to cut these trees down.

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The survey of dead and dry trees was ordered after the July 8 tree collapse at Carmel Convent School in Sector 9 that had claimed the life of a 16-year-old student, and left her 18 school mates and a bus attendant injured.

The administration had constituted a committee of officials from MC, forest department and horticulture wing of the UT engineering department to visit all city schools and educational institutes to inspect trees on or around their premises to avoid any such incident.

While the official submission of the report is likely on Tuesday, a senior UT official confirmed that 72 trees will be axed, as they were prone to collapsing amid heavy rainfall or high-velocity winds.

“The report is to be submitted on Tuesday. We will simultaneously start axing the trees and by Monday next week, all of these will have been removed,” said a UT official.

Unlike heritage trees, the cutting of these trees doesn’t require permission of the UT adviser.

“The head of departments are authorised to give directions for cutting dead and dry trees that pose danger to life and property. In case of trees falling in MC jurisdiction, it is the MC commissioner. For areas under the UT engineering department, it is the UT chief engineer; and for the forest department, chief conservator of forests,” said the official.

Earlier, in another survey of the 30 heritage trees still standing, the administration had discovered two unhealthy heritage trees and subsequently had them removed. These included a mango tree, aged over 150 years old, at Vatika School for Deaf and Dumb Children, Sector 19-B; and a peepal tree, also 150 years old, at the entrance of Government Nursery, Sector 23-C. Both trees were infested with termites.

Following the Carmel Convent mishap, the administration had come under severe criticism for the lack of regular monitoring of dead and dry trees, and poor maintenance of the heritage trees.

The administration, on its part, had claimed it regularly axed dead and dry trees following due protocol. “During the past five years, 1,634 such trees have been cut in various parts of Chandigarh,” said a UT official.

“The identification of the dead trees should have been done a long time back. Why did it take a tragedy to wake up the administration?” said a parent of a student at a government school.

The administration has also been receiving flak for its tedious procedure for cutting/pruning of trees, with requests pending for several months and even years.

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