By Our Bureau
Shillong, Aug 12: A major tragedy struck in the heart of the city as a tree collapse crushed three persons to death on Saturday, while two other were seriously injured.
A huge eucalyptus tree with its roots at Raj Bhavan premises collapsed and fell on top of a taxi at the busy All India Radio junction near the Raj Bhavan around 4.30 pm that led to the tragedy. The dead include one woman and two men while the reason for the fall of the tree has been blamed on the incessant rains and strong winds that have been lashing the State Capital and its adjoining areas for the past few days. Three occupants of the local taxi (ML-05L-1471) – Crystal Gayle Kharnaior (23), daughter of R Warjri of Mawlai Nongkwar Block-V, and two unidentified male occupants (one aged about 35 years and other around 50) – were killed on the spot while two women, viz., Wannysha Ksoo (27) and Newmemorial Wahlang (51), sustained injuries. According to reports the old tree which has stood at the Raj Bhavan for decades came crashing down on the road pulling along with it electric posts and wires.
According to eyewitnesses, the huge tree fell all of a sudden before anyone could realise what was happening. “It fell all of a sudden on the local taxi passing by with a big bang. We noticed the impact, but were initially lost on how to deal with the situation,” an eyewitness told The Sentinel.
Officials of the Raj Bhavan swung into action and helped the police, fire service and disaster management teams in removing the tree.
Meanwhile, a senior official of the Raj Bhavan claimed that this particular tree was certified by the Department of Forest as safe. The official said the Department of Forest has also been asked to assess other trees of the Raj Bhavan. Now, the big question that arises is whether the huge trees that have been reportedly assessed by the Department of Forest and marked as safe are really safe? The Department of Forest will have to explain how a tree that was reportedly marked as safe by it fell.