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Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 05 March 2024

Earthy plan saves New Town trees

The use of concrete for beautification has been kept to a minimum to let the trees grow and breathe

Snehal Sengupta Calcutta Published 04.03.19, 07:18 AM
A tree near the Kolkata Gate in New Town with its base guarded with concrete slabs, while leaving enough soil around the trunk for it to grow and retain its grip.

A tree near the Kolkata Gate in New Town with its base guarded with concrete slabs, while leaving enough soil around the trunk for it to grow and retain its grip. Bishwarup Dutta

Calcutta can take a leaf or two out of New Town’s book on tree plantation.

Palm, coconut, cherry blossom and more such slender trees that are flexible and less likely to topple in a storm have been planted on median dividers and along sidewalks in New Town. The use of concrete for beautification has been kept to a minimum to let the trees grow and breathe.

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Metro drove around the tree-lined avenues of the township.

Flexible trees

Palm, coconut, cherry blossom, pine and casuarina — all trees with supple trunks and branches — have been planted on the median dividers of the township.

Cherry blossoms planted along the boulevard outside Eco Park have weathered several storms, a Hidco official said. “The trees did not keel over even during last Monday’s squall,” he said.

Uprooted trees lying sprawled across roads are a common sight after every thunderstorm in the city. At least 17 trees were uprooted during last Monday’s squall in the city, where krishnachura, radhachura and siris that have large and heavy canopies are common.

Large canopies make trees more prone to being uprooted and are best avoided for roadside plantation, according to experts. The authorities in New Town, too, have refrained from planting such trees.

There are plantations of coconut trees near the Rabindra Tirtha crossing where the Kolkata Gate has come up. Palm trees line the road that leads to the Tata Medical Center.

Trees on a pavement in New Town with their bases undisturbed.

Trees on a pavement in New Town with their bases undisturbed. Bishwarup Dutta

A median divider that has been turned into a green patch.

A median divider that has been turned into a green patch. Bishwarup Dutta

Plantation plan

Hidco has drawn up a plantation plan for New Town, in consultation with a team of experts from the forest department.

Debashis Sen, the chairman-cum-managing director of Hidco, said the plan was formulated after studying the characteristics of soil in the township and taking into account inputs from the forest department.

“We decided to plant two types of trees. We conducted a study to find out which trees are the most resilient to storms and also those that combat air pollution,” Sen said.

Slender trees such as foxtail and rosy trumpet are being planted to weather storms and neem, kadamba, gokul, arjun, palash and ashoka to combat air pollution.

A naturalist said palm and coconut trees, though resilient to storms, do not offer shade and that is an aspect to be considered for avenue plantation.

Hidco and the forest department’s West Bengal Wasteland Development Corporation Ltd source the trees from the Tall Tree Nursery in New Town.

No concrete

Hidco has ensured that the wide boulevards on the Major Arterial Road where trees have been planted don’t have concrete around them.

Beautification involving concrete has been kept to a minimum on the dividers.

“We have planted a lot of trees on the median divider of the Major Arterial Road. We have not placed any concrete installation around the trees as that might hamper their growth. Instead, we have focussed on lights to beautify the area,” Sen said.

Even the trees that are planted along paved walkways have enough soil left out around the trunk.

“The base of the trees must not be concreted. There must be ample soil at the base to ensure that the trees don’t topple,” said Raju Das, a senior official of the forest department-run West Bengal Wasteland Development Corporation Ltd.

More than 1,65,000 trees have already been planted in the township in the past couple of years.

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