MUMBAI (Metro Rail News) – I an unprecedented move of a huge number of trees getting collapsed in the last three days due to heavy rainfall and cyclonic winds, an expert on the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited’s (MMRCL) tree transplantation committee, who was also formerly a member of the BMC’s tree committee, on Friday called on the civic body to replant uprooted trees wherever possible.
“If we do not save the fallen trees, the city might fall back by 40 to 70 years in terms of greenery and environment,” said Subhash Patne, a horticulturist. He claimed that a number of the uprooted trees can be replanted.
Heavy rain on three days this week, with cyclonic winds on August 5, had led to the uprooting of over 600 trees, mainly in south Mumbai. The BMC has taken to chopping them down to clear roads. Horticulturists have, however, pointed out that BMC must replant the trees wherever possible.
Patne stressed that trees that have some roots intact and are still going deep into the ground could be replanted at the same spot, and would survive. “Wherever the uprooted trees still have a few roots intact, BMC should replant them at the same site. They need to dig a bigger pit, pull up the tree carefully with a crane and ram the area around roots with soil to ensure that there are no air pockets. Following this, the branches need to be pruned to balance the tree and support the trunk.”
Around to six years ago, Patne was instrumental in the transplantation of 40-ft palm trees outside Mantralaya and five full-grown coconut trees on the Raj Bhavan premises. Patne, who has been a horticulturist for 45 years, said the ficus species, such as banyan trees, “will definitely survive such replantation”.