Friday, February 5, 2010

Now a Savior for ill trees in Delhi

Over one lakh trees in the heart of the Capital now have a tree ambulance to tend to them. The ambulance facility, launched by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), was inaugurated by chief minister Shiela Dikshit yesterday on 5th of february.

About 10,000 of the one-lakh odd trees in NDMC areas are classified as avenue trees, which form an integral part of Delhi’s natural heritage. In addition, these trees serve as important environmental and ecological reserves. ‘‘Most of these trees were planted during the development of New Delhi as a city in the early part of the 20th century. All the avenue trees are indigenous trees of Delhi region,’’ said an NDMC official.

The trees require proper care and attention. ‘‘We carry out regular trimming and removal of decayed branches of all trees to give them a healthy life. The ambulance will aid such activities,’’ the official added. The tree ambulance is fitted with water tanks with a 5.5 thousand liter capacity, equipments like chain saw, tree pruner, sprayer, ladder and water pumps. The vehicles, which have warning lights and sirens, have come up at a cost of Rs 1.4 lakh.

The ambulance will have a six member team, called plant protection cell, who will be imparted a one-month training by the Forest Research Institute of India, Dehradun. If a tree is found infected or diseased, it will be treated with pesticide sprays. Said an official: ‘‘If any part of the tree is found to be decaying, that part will be removed and the cavity will be filled. Sixty members of the horticulture department will be trained for this.’’

Speaking on the occasion, Dikshit said: ‘‘Other civic bodies should follow suit. We will try getting more funding for such ambulances under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).’’ A survey carried out by Forest Research Institute, Dehradun revealed that there are several ‘sick’ trees in NDMC areas, which can be salvaged with proper treatment. The idea of a tree ambulance was devised to treat these trees.