Saplings on footpaths dry out for want of care

Saplings on footpaths dry out for want of care
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SRINAGAR: Hundreds of tree and flower saplings of different varieties, planted on the footpaths and road dividers in the city centre and adjoining areas by government during the last few years, have dried up while the saplings which have managed to survive are in a desperate need of maintenance.
Most of the saplings planted on footpaths near Biscoe School in Lal Chowk have dried up while the protective grills around many have broken down or turned into trash bins.
On the road dividers at Maulana Azad Road and Residency Road, barring a small stretch, the saplings have not sprouted or have been taken over by weeds and bushes.
On Boulevard Road the Forest department had planted pine trees from Cheshmashai to Nehru Park; though the plants are green they are surrounded by bushes hampering their growth.
On Foreshore road, from Nishat to Hazratbal, Roads and Buildings department had planted trees of various varieties on the dividers, but apart from a couple of places, the trees have failed to grow due to lack of maintenance.
On Foreshore road, the local residents said, the protective grills stand “useless” and are used by the youth during protests to “block the roads”. They said that the government after planting the trees “forgets to look after them” which results in their damage.
Abdul Majeed, a senior gardener with department of Horticulture, seconded the opinion of the residents and said that government does not look after the saplings after their plantation.
“It is easy to plant trees but the main thing is the maintenance. These are not wild trees that would grow themselves, these plants have to be looked after when they are planted,” Majeed said.
He said that maintenance depends on the types of saplings planted by the government.
“Some plants need to be watered on regular intervals, some need to be sprayed with medicines. Also the soil around the plants has to be loosened at least once a year,” Majeed said.
Junior engineers from Landscape division of Roads and Buildings department said they maintain their portion of the trees by watering and de-weeding them.
“We maintain the portion of the trees in our jurisdiction. We water and de-weed them continuously,” said Niyaz Ahamad Banday, who looks after the Maulana Azad Road section.
Cheif Sanitation Officer, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Ghulam Rasool Dar told Kashmir Reader that they have assigned the task of maintenance to a Floriculture officer.
“We have assigned an officer but it is the responsibility of the common people to take care of their assets. We have beautified the footpaths but people should not throw their trash in the plantation grills. We have installed dustbins for that purpose,” Dar said.
“Also there is huge rush of pedestrians near the Biscoe footpath that also leads to damage to the plants and the grills,” he said.
Dar, however, added that he would take up the matter with the SMC Commissioner to get things fixed.