Menacing trees on roadsides

KATHMANDU: With the coming of the windy season, the streets have become vulnerable to the roadside trees falling on the commuters and vehicles. The concerned authorities are, however, apathetic to the cause.

Two persons were killed on Sunday when a tree fell on a microbus at Ekantakuna. Casualties in similar incidents are common every year, affirmed Kathmandu Traffic Police Office.

“Earlier I was careless about the trees but this incident has now really scared me,” said Indra Rayamajhi, marketer of Ladecore, Anamnagar. “All the trees by the side of the roads must be removed. If they are planted for the environmental cause, they must be at a distance from the roadside,” he added.

The onus of removing or planting the trees along the roadside lies with the Kathmandu Metropolitan City and the Department of Roads, said an official. “We have raised this issue time and again during the meetings and informed orally to the concerned officers,” said sub-inspector Deepak Giri. However, he conceded that we can do nothing against natural forces. “We can neither predict it nor control it,” he added. “If a volcano erupts suddenly, what can we do?”

The trees, mainly the papals, are aligned along the road sections of Swyambhu, Banasthali, Balaju and Gongabu areas. “The trees around the Narayanhity Palace Museum are also posing a threat to the commuters,” said Giri.

Narayan Gopal Malego, chief executive at the KMC, said that their responsibility was only to manage the trees in the inner streets of the city. “The DoR is the responsible body to manage the trees along the roadsides,” he added. “We have removed or trimmed the old and risky trees in our parts.”

Krityanand Thakur, senior divisional engineer at the DoR owned up to the responsibility. However, he expressed the department’s helplessness citing public protests against felling the trees. He also said trees are necessary for environmental concerns but at the same time proper trimming of trees should be carried out for commuters’ safety.