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HIDCO measuring steps for plantation programme, to focus on avenue plantation on major roads

Kolkata: West Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) is taking a planned approach in its new plantation programme, that will start soon with a focus on avenue plantation on all major roads.
"We had thought of this plantation much earlier. However, construction work for the Airport-Garia Metro project was going on in a number of stretches. Work is still on in the station area, however, a number of stretches have been opened for traffic, as per original road alignment. We would be planting trees at these places," a senior HIDCO official said.
It has been decided that trees for this plantation will be sourced mostly from the Tall Tree Nursery that has come up on a 5 acre area at Action Area 1D, not far from Tata Medical Centre. It may be mentioned that this nursery is a joint initiative of HIDCO and Forest department's Wasteland Development Corporation. Quality saplings up to 4-5 feet are available in the nursery.
"We would concentrate on slender trees that do not spread out in a canopy when grown, because these would obstruct street lights and vision of drivers. Pine trees, 'debdaru', 'sonajhuri', Asian Cherry Blossoms, palm trees and coconut trees are on our radar," the official said.
The species of the trees will be finalised only after consultation with experts. The soil would be tested for suitability. "We want to ensure that the trees we plant have a minimum chance of uprooting, even during squalls. In a recent thunderstorm, when many trees fell down in the city, New Town was also not an exception," the official maintained.
It may be mentioned that for the tea garden at Eco Park, Andrew Yule had sourced earth from their North Bengal tea gardens, as the existing soil was not suitable for tea bushes.
There will be a sea change in the plantation strategy adopted by HIDCO. "Earlier, we concentrated on large areas of plantation, whenever space for greening was available. This included broad road medians near Eco Space, near Eco Urban Village and also other planned green areas in all nooks and corners. Now, we will concentrate on replacement of saplings on existing green zones, which have not survived. A survey is being done by the Forest directorate at our request, to find out the extent (10-15% as per preliminary estimate) of replacement necessary. Mending of bamboo fences will also receive a focus," the official added.
Last year, during monsoons, HIDCO had planted 65,000 trees, while 50,000 trees were planted in the year 2016.

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