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For many years now, my family has been facing a significant problem — that of a large peepul tree growing precariously right outside our house. On occasion, the tree has fallen down during storms, causing severe damage to our property. However, we have seen little done in terms of rectifying the issue every time we sought help. Ironically, Nizamuddin has been dubbed one of the greenest and best managed colonies in Delhi.

The first time a part of my tree broke down, it fell on our gate, the second time on our car. A branch fell dangerously close to my wife, who was standing not far away. The question is: why haven’t our repeated requests to fell the tree been answered?

I filed my first official complaint on January 23, 2015. In a letter addressed to the Deputy Director of the Horticulture Dept. of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, I requested the department to deal with the matter at the earliest, stressing that it poses a threat to our life and property.
Eventually, then President of the RWA (Resident Welfare Association) Rahul Sawhney was able to get some action. The horticulture and forest departments carried out investigations (as is the procedure) and a heavy pruning of the tree was allowed. But after this, the tree has been growing without management. It is rotting from the roots, and insects have made the base of the tree hollow and weak. That is why we want it felled.

Sawhney feels the departments have been helpful in dealing with the situation, as the entire process of seeking permission for the maintenance of the tree and the consequent pruning took about 45 days. But he agrees that the tree is tilting and poses a threat not only to the colony’s residents but also passersby.

Our current RWA President Sunil Vadehra says it takes at least six months for approval of felling or heavy pruning of a tree. He reveals that it is possible to make such requests only once a year, and the RWA is responsible for facilitating such communications from the residents to the higher authorities. After all, the RWA is not a statutory body.

As of now, however, as storms rage across the city, the tree stands posing a threat. We are waiting in suspense for permission for felling the tree to come through.

As told to Sreya Deb

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