Bhubaneswar, Sept. 23: Lofty problems have beset plantation drives on road medians here.
Even as the Odisha Forest Development Corporation takes extra care to ensure the survival of saplings planted on medians of various roads, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has written to the forest department asking it not to plant species that grow very tall as they obstruct streetlights.
Municipal commissioner Sanjib Mishra said that as the trees were planted without consultations with them, they grew tall and blocked the streetlights.
“On stretches where there were no streetlights, these trees become a problem when light poles need to be erected. We have written a letter to the forest department, asking them to plant only ornamental plants on the medians,” said Mishra.
A senior electrical engineer with the civic body said: “Stretches such as Acharya Vihar and Sainik School are getting affected because of the tall trees on the medians. The overgrown plants are obstructing streetlights.”
Divisional forest officer (DFO) Jayant Das, however, said planting on the median was the responsibility of the forest development corporation and they had told its officials to stick to the civic body’s needs. An official said the city DFO was the nodal agency of the government that dealt with such matters.
Divisional manager, plantation of forest development corporation’s Bhubaneswar division Debraj Panda said: “This year, one lakh saplings were to be planted across the city under the forest and environment programme, while around 10,000 ornamental and small plants have been planted on the medians under corporate activities.”
Panda said: “We do not use plants with high growth potential on medians. Only some sunari (golden harvest) saplings have been planted between Ram Mandir and Rajmahal Square, but these trees can be trimmed whenever needed.”
The forest development corporation is preparing medians on Damana-Nandan Kanan, Rajmahal-Master Canteen and Raj Bhavan-Jayadev Vihar for plantation.
Panda said: “The civic body authorities have sought from us saplings of small plants for the stretch between Raj Bhavan and Jayadev Vihar. We usually plant seedlings that need maintenance for five years on the median and the plants remain dwarf. Besides, we plant ornamental plants on such stretches.”
The forest development corporation has asked all its officials to ensure that three-feet deep pits are dug on the medians to plant trees so that they can develop strong roots. “We need deeper pits to provide better support for the ornamental trees. The golden forest saplings that we are planting are ornamental in nature and the state government has approved planting them,” said managing director of the forest development corporation Sidhant Das.
Das said space crunch and frequent widening of roads on several stretches had taken a toll on plantation drives.