Rain and thunderstorm hit Bengaluru this Sunday uprooting almost 35 trees. While Yelahanka alone lost over 10 trees, three trees were uprooted in Devasandra and two each in Siddapura, JP Nagar, Domlur, and Raghavendra Circle. Headache for people started as the private operators are demanding between Rs 8,000 to Rs 50,000 to remove fallen trees from residential compounds.
Private operators, own set of rules
They are demanding anywhere between Rs 8,000 to Rs 50,000 depending on the size and age of the downed tree. The price includes charges for chopping the tree and transferring the tree and removing the chunks.
However, it is the BBMP’s responsibility to remove green limbs which fall on roads, pavements, and other public spaces. As the civic body has not empaneled tree cutters and other personnel necessary for the job, the private operators are setting their own rates and rules.
Jayanagar resident Narasimha K recently had to arrange up to Rs 23,000 for the services of one such agency. The stormy weather had brought down a Gulmohar tree in his compound. “The tree was very old and fell amid heavy rain. The agency person said it would have cost less had the tree been healthy. Old or frail trees don’t fetch anything in the market. The workers have to burn them,” Narasimha said.
BTM Layout resident Vipin Kumar also complained about tree cutting and removal charges. “A 15-foot tree in my compound tilted and we feared it would collapse. We called a private agency, which quoted a very high amount; it was absurd,” he said.
Removal of fallen trees a headache for locals
In recent time, over 125 trees and 370 branches have fallen this month. And it is said that the BBMP workers have got rid of only one portion of a tree that had fallen on the road. For the other half that fell inside locals resident’s colony, demanded 6,000 Rs for its removal.
Private contractors who offer tree cutting services charge the customer based on the tree’s width, height and wood type. Following an extra charge will be taken for clearing the area.
Nagesh Gowda, a staffer in one of these agencies, said it was a difficult task that required machinery and at least four people. “ We have to also pay the transport charge for the removal of chopped logs and find a proper way to dispose of them”, he said.
Dismissing on all the guilts, MK Cholorajappa a BBMP deputy conservator of forests, said the civic body had no control over such private businesses. “But in many cases, contractors associated with the BBMP are helping residents without charging anything. Our employees may have sought more time to visit residential compounds as their first priority is roads. People who don’t want to wait to call up private agencies,” he said.