Delhi lost over 290 trees, some of them decades old, during Monday's fierce thunderstorm, prompting the civic agencies to launch special drives to remove debris from city roads, even as Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena asked for a thorough review of the causes of uprooting of trees to ensure such incidents do not recur.
According to data provided by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, at least 215 trees were either uprooted or damaged across the city, excluding the Lutyens' Delhi area where 77 trees had fallen due to the thunderstorm on Monday evening.
The Delhi Traffic Police on Tuesday said it received 352 calls related to traffic congestion and 14 calls about building or wall collapse following rains and thunderstorm in the capital a day before. At least three persons have died in rain related incidents, including one who drowned in waterlogged Pul Prahladpur underpass.
Civic authorities said that fallen trees belonged to different varieties, including neem, peepal, jamun, arjun, seemal, pilkhan, bargad, imli, kadelia, kusum, kekan, balam, bheda and eucalyptus.
Civic agencies, including the MCD and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), struggled to clear streets dotted with fallen trees and their branches obstructing the traffic.
A senior official from horticulture department of the MCD said 750 civic personnel were deployed to remove uprooted trees from roads in different parts of the city.
"Nearly 30 vehicles, with each having 25 workers, have been pressed into service to remove debris from roads. Several road stretches have already been cleared and debris will be removed from the remaining stretches by the evening," the official said.
The areas under MCD where trees were uprooted included Rohini, Ajmeri Gate, Dariyaganj, Sunder Nagar, Pahadganj, Narayana, Jamia Nagar, Okhla, New friends Colony, Jangpura, Bawana Depot, Azadpur, Civil Lines, Vikaspuri, Saket, Sundar Nagri, Anand Vihar, Mayur Vihar, Lajpat Nagar, ITO, and Malviya Nagar, among others.
The Public Works Department, which manages around 1,260 km roads in the city, did not provide data on trees fallen on its roads.
Officials said that the responsibility of removing trees debris lies with the road owning agency.
Delhi witnessed the first storm of "severe" intensity since 2018 on Monday throwing traffic out of gear within minutes as the uprooted trees blocked roads and also damaged several vehicles.
Three persons were killed and several injured after the fierce thunderstorm packing winds of up to 100 kmph and heavy rains battered the capital on Monday evening, uprooting hundreds of trees, disrupting road and air traffic and damaging vehicles and buildings, including the iconic Jama Masjid.
NDMC's horticulture department fears some of the uprooted trees might be among those tagged as 'heritage trees' but they are yet to compile a damage report and ascertain the facts.
"Most of the uprooted trees (six) were on Baba Kharak Singh Road, while Parliament Street lost five neem trees. Maximum tree branches (12) fell on Moti Lal Nehru Marg, followed by Golf Link (eight)," an NDMC official said.
Other roads where trees were uprooted and traffic movement affected included Mother Teresa Crescent, Ashoka Road, Shankar Road, Firozshah Road, Jantar Mantar Marg, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Copernicus Marg, Tilak Marg, Purana Qila Road, Pandara Road, Subramanyam Bharti Marg, Janpath, Mansingh Road, Sardar Patel Marg, K Kamraj Marg, Krishna Menon Road, Tolstoy Road, Tyagraj Marg and Sunehri Bagh Road.
Meanwhile, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Saxena said the government has taken a serious note of uprooting of trees following a storm and assured that the issue will be addressed at the earliest.
A statement issued by Raj Niwas said Saxena has asked for thorough review and rectification of the causes so that such incidents are not repeated.
"Deeply distressed and concerned by the destruction, disruption and disturbance caused by uprooting of trees due to the 'severe storm' yesterday, the Lt Governor, Shri VK Saxena has asked for thorough review and rectification of the causes so that such incidents are not repeated," a tweet from LG office said.
He also directed authorities to scientifically prune trees above 45 feet of height and 10 feet above the surface.
The traffic police said the control room received over 350 calls about congestion, failure of traffic signals, uprooting of trees and electricity poles, and snapping of overhead electricity wires and cables.
Uprooted trees, which obstructed traffic, were removed by traffic personnel in different parts of the city with the help of other civic agencies, they said.
There were also power outages in many parts of the city, resulting in non-functioning of signals and manning of signalized intersections to regulate traffic, said a senior traffic police official.
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