BDA revives ‘Green Garland’ project

The BDA aims to plant one crore saplings under the Green Garland project. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Bangalore Development Authority has breathed life into an eight-year-old project to plant one crore saplings across the city, which earlier faced roadblocks due to a lack of funds. 

During a recent board meeting, the BDA approved Rs 2 crore for the much-hyped Green Garland project against the demand of Rs 5 crore by its forest cell. The agency planted 28 lakh saplings in the initial days of the project, but it could not proceed with planting the remaining 72 lakh saplings due to a paucity of funds. 

While the agency allotted Rs 100 crore for the project, the cost has now been hiked to Rs 140 crore due to a rise in the price of saplings. 

"A notification for the tenders will be released next week," BDA's deputy conservator of forest Sadanand told DH. "We'll plant the saplings in Kempegowda Layout, Vishweshwaraiah Layout and a few parts of Anjanapura, developed by the BDA. We are keeping the planting activities to the buffer zones, parks, vacant lands and lake beds. We'll carry out planting on the roadside in future," he added. 

Since the civic body is reserving one side of the road for utilities like water, treated water, sanitary, electricity, telephone and gas pipelines, the forest department has to focus on the other side. 

Officials hope that the saplings would grow without obstacles. The tendering process will include digging, planting, weeding and maintenance of the saplings for three years, besides watering. The BDA aims to buy 20,000 saplings of different species with Rs 2 crore.

Environmentalists, however, said the BDA had got the timing wrong by sanctioning the project at the end of the monsoon season. 

"Plantation drives should (ideally) happen in May or just before the (beginning of) monsoon," senior environmentalist Dr Yellapa Reddy said. "I don't think anyone would take up plantation before the beginning of autumn when trees shed their leaves." 

"Just because they have released the money doesn't make this the right time. They may have included watering in the tender process, but the growth of the plants should happen naturally," Reddy added. 

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