Once again being reactive instead of proactive, the Forest Department said it will soon conduct a survey of all trees in and around Raj Bhavan. This was announced today after yet another tree in the area fell in bad weather, damaging a car and injuring one occupant.
It was only three years ago, in August 2017, that three people were killed and two injured when a tree on the Raj Bhavan premises fell on a passing taxi.
T Wanniang, East Khasi Hills Divisional Forest Officer, told Highland Post today that his department would have carried out the survey already but had been delayed by the Covid-19 containment zone imposed on Raj Bhavan and its surroundings.
Although it was reported earlier in the day that the tree which fell today was inside the Governor’s House premises, Wanniang clarified that it was actually growing on the opposite side of the road near the entrance of the quarters of Raj Bhavan staff.
“I have visited the place myself and engaged the staff and ensured that the tree is removed from the area at the earliest,” he said, adding that the department will soon take up the matter with the estate officer of the Governor’s House to identify trees that could prove to be a danger to the public and infrastructure.
When asked about trees that have fallen in and around the city, destroying electricity poles and disrupting the power supply in the process while also posing a serious threat to pedestrians and commuters in the past few weeks, Wanniang maintained that Forest Department field staff are always on task to identify the dangerous tress and attend to collapse trees immediately.
Informing that it is normal procedure for the department to assess dead, diseased and dangerously hanging trees that pose a threat to human lives and property, he said that there are some trees that look healthy from the outside but, owing to incessant rainfall and loose soil, some collapse in sudden and unforeseen ways.
“We have removed trees and also granted permission to individuals to remove trees that pose a threat to human lives and property but there will always be unforeseen incidents as far as collapses of trees is concerned,” he said.
Wanñiang added that random felling of trees is against the law and protection of the environment and maintenance of greenery is very important.
Earlier today, one Deepen Bhattacharjee was injured while his father Ajay Bhattacharjee escaped unhurt when a pine tree fell on their vehicle at around 11 am.
Both were rushed to the Shillong Civil Hospital.
The tree also damaged electricity poles and personnel from the Fire and Emergency Service, the MeECL and Forest department were engaged in clearing the tree.